Air Peace has resumed commercial flight operations from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to Abuja and Lagos.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony at the Nigerian Air Force Aerodrome, Makurdi, on Monday, Governor Samuel Ortom, appreciated God and all those who have cooperated with the state government to make the operation possible.
He explained that “It has been a long journey that has been long in achieving. In fact, it has taken us the better part of two years to meet the stringent regulatory requirements for the resumption of commercial aviation in our state.
“In the course of this journey, we have had extensive engagement with all the key players in the Aviation Industry, including the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), amongst others.
Ortom noted that Benue State Government have invested heavily in time, goodwill and financial resources to help to meet the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s rigorous requirements for the resumption of Commercial Aviation services, including facilitating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU), by the NAF, FAAN, NAMA and NiMET for the use of the NAF Aerodrome for commercial services.
He also named the procurement and provision of a NCAA-approved Digital Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle, along with training, equipping and testing of over 50 Fire Staff, provision of a state-of-the-art ambulance and trained health personnel for emergency rescue services.
Others include facilitating the Geodetic Survey of the Airport to ensure the Airport is included in ICAO maps so that pilots can rely on instruments (and not just their eyes) to fly into Makurdi, provisions of Airport Tarmac markings and related airside signages, provision of operational vehicle for NAMA, strengthening of access control and security screening, provision of temporary spaces for terminal operations among others.
While state government have also provided a subsidy to defray Air Peace against any unanticipated route risks, Ortom said “We are also in the process of providing long-term accommodation for the NAMA personnel as well as a tent to protect the ARFF truck and serve as a rest area for the fire personnel, among other commitments.”
Ortom, while appreciating the diligence of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the other Aviation Agencies in ensuring that all Airports meet such stringent requirements for aviation safety, said “meeting these requirements was frustrating and costly for us as a State Government but we had no doubt that these were necessary investments to ensure safe air links between our State and the rest of Nigeria and the world.
He said “today’s resumption of Commercial Flights to and from Makurdi is a major milestone in our long quest to facilitate air links between our State and the rest of the country and the world.
The Ground Operations Manager, Air Peace, Ayodeji Adeyemi, said Air Peace is delighted to be back to Makurdi and happy to be providing seamless connectivity between Makurdi and Lagos/Abuja.
He said the socio economic benefits they envisage for the people of Benue state as a result of this relaunch will be maximized.
“We thank all the aviation players; NCAA, FAAN, NAF, NAMA, and the Benue state government for the support in ensuring this comeback. Air Peace assured the flying public to keep interconnecting Nigeria and beyond,” he added.