The governments of Ondo and Ekiti States, in south west Nigeria, have pledged to promote national flag carrier, Arik Air as the sole carrier on the Lagos-Akure and Akure-Abuja routes.
The pledged was made in Akure on Wednesday by the governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, at the inauguration of Arik Air’s flight services into the long-abandoned Akure airport.
At the well attended ceremony, Governor Agagu also promised that the Ondo state government would patronize Arik Air on “some guarantee basis” as a way of encouraging the airline to continue flying into the Akure Airport.
He pointed out that Arik Air is a reliable airline with state-of-the-art aircraft. “You can see the sleek baby there”, the Governor said pointing at the airline’s Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft packed on the Akure Airport tarmac.
Dr. Agagu enjoined Arik Air to live up to its billing as a first class airline.
Speaking earlier on the new service, Arik Air’s Vice Chairman, Senator Anietie Okon, said it was a matter of great pride for Arik Air to count Akure as one of its major flight operations.
According to him, Akure is peopled by giants in the industry, education and politics, noting that the contributions of the state to the development of Nigeria cannot be overlooked.
He promised that the management of the airline would do all within its power to match the encouragement and support of the people of Ondo and Ekiti states.
The General Manager Sales and Marketing of Arik Air, Mr. Suraj Sundaram, stated that flying into the Akure Airport was a strategic move by the airline to position Akure as a gateway to serve the township communities in Ondo, Owo, Ore, neighbouring Ekiti state and the entire south west region in general.
He stated that since Akure airport has not been in service for years, Arik Air believes that its thrice weekly services (Monday/Wednesday/Friday to Lagos and Abuja) would satisfy the demands of the people as Arik Air intends to be the preferred carrier of choice to the region.
“With Akure on board, we are now serving almost the entire country and in the months ahead we will continue to focus on service improvements by further developing our hubs in Port Harcourt and Abuja, while also consolidating our network through these hubs”, Sundaram stressed.