By Sampson Boroh
Commercial flight operations will officially resume at the Bayelsa State International Airport in the next two weeks after an aircraft of the United Nigeria Airlines made its first commercial landing at the airport.
The event described as historic in Bayelsa history had members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in attendance at the ceremony.
This followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in June between the Bayelsa State Government and United Nigeria Airlines to commence commercial flights at the airport.
The state government had in June end its search for a partner for the Bayelsa State Airport as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nigeria Airlines to commence commercial flights like every other Airports in the country.
The United Nigeria Airlines flight touched down at the Bayelsa Airport at Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area signifying commencement full scale commercial operations in the state.
The historic landing also unite prominent members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The flight which left the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, had had on board Governor Douye Diri, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Mr Obiora Okonkwo; Tokyo Olympic Silver medalist, Blessing Oborodudu; Dr Godknows Boladei Igali, and Paramount Ruler of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diete- Spiff.
Others on the flight are members of the Bayelsa State caucus in the national assembly namely, Hon. Israel Sunny- GOLI (Nembe/ Brass Federal constituency), Hon. Fredrick Agbedi (Sagbama/ Ekeremor Federal Constituency), Hon. Fred Obuah(Ogbia Federal constituency), Hon. Preye Influence Oseke (Southhern Ijaw Federal constituency), Hon. Steve Aziaki(Yenagoa/ Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal constituency) and Moses Cleopas, senator representing Bayelsa Central.
Also on the flight was the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ngobere who led other members of the House.
The flight landed in Bayelsa at exactly 3pm on Wednesday.
Speaking during the ceremony, elated Bayelsa Governor, Senator Diri, commended Okonkwo for believing in Bayelsa to allow United Nigeria Airlines begin commercial operations in the state.
Diri, who disclosed that full commercial flight would commence in two weeks, noted that commencement of commercial flights by United Nigeria Airlines signalled economic development of the state by bringing Bayelsa to the world and the world to Bayelsa.
“This significant event is the culmination of the aspirations that was birthed by late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former governor of the state, which was eventually built by Senator Seriake Dickson, my predecessor. And it is under my administration that this project was crystallised. This is a demonstration that team work truly works”.
“I am happy to report to you that the pilot of the United Nigeria Airline said our runway is one of the best in Nigeria. It is our determination to make Bayelsa truly the Glory of All Lands and we are making Bayelsa a construction site.”
He continued: “The timing of this direct commercial flight services into Yenagoa could not be more fortuitous. The Prosperity government has made overtures to several businesses and development partners across diverse locations and the easy of flying to and from Yenagoa will give a further lift to trade and tourism and accelerate the momentum towards making Bayelsa the investment destination of yours”,
“I had the pleasure of taking this historic maiden commercial flight from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos today and it is without question a very agreeable and expedient way to travel to Bayelsa State.”
“I am delighted to congratulate all Bayelsans on the inaugural direct passenger flights to the Bayelsa International Airport. “
“I am confident that there is huge potential for growing the economy of our State and diversifying from our reliance on Federal allocation. The fact that this airport provides an export free zone will be an additional incentive to investors. I wish United Nigeria every success with its new service to and from the Yenagoa International Airport.”