A United Nigeria Airlines (UNA) aircraft landed at Bayelsa State International Airport on Wednesday to mark the start of commercial flight operations at the airport.
The aircraft, which touched down at 3:45 pm took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 in Lagos at 3 pm.
Those onboard include Duoye Diri, Bayelsa state governor; Obiora Okonkwo, the airline’s chairman, Blessing Oborududu, Tokyo Olympics wrestling silver medalist; members of the Bayelsa state caucus in the national assembly, among others.
In April, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) gave approval to Bayelsa for the state-owned airport to commence flight operations.
Addressing the jubilant crowd at the airport, Diri announced that full commercial flights would commence in two weeks based on bookings made.
He expressed optimism that with commercial flights into and out of Bayelsa, economic activities would begin to boom in the state.
“I have just arrived safely at the Bayelsa International Airport, Yenagoa with the inaugural commercial flight operated by United Nigeria Airlines,” Diri said.
“Our people have longed waited for this historic day as the flight routes will open up the state to more economic activities.
“The airport is now here to ease movement of our people and goods into the state.
“I must acknowledge the efforts of my predecessors particularly the first Civilian Governor, Late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha for the vision, and that of His Excellency, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, to get this project to completion.
“Congratulations to all Bayelsans as the state is now officially on the Aviation Map of Nigeria.
“Let me thank my brother and friend, Mr. Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, who joined us on this historic flight.
“I must thank all our leaders on the flight and members of the National Assembly from the state irrespective of party affiliations. This is an airport for all Bayelsans.”