Fresh optimism has greeted the newly-commissioned airport in Anambra State, as stakeholders count gains the state, businesses and individuals will derive from the facility.
Traders, unions and other stakeholders have been expressing joy over the development, as the state, being a commercial and industrial hub, has long been expecting such.
The National Association of Air Pilots and Engineers explained that the airport would be the busiest in December, recording high level of traffic.
NAAPE Public Relations Officer, Francis Igwe, told Financial Street on Wednesday that most of the people patronising the airports in Lagos and other parts of the country were mostly from the South East.
He added that the airport would reduce the traffic on Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.
“I believe that as the airport has started, awareness will be created now. During the Christmas period, you will discover that the Anambra airport will be one of the busiest in Nigeria because most of the people patronising the airport in Lagos and other parts are from the South East.
“I have not been to the airport; so I can’t tell the cost, so I can assess the facilities and all that,” he said.
Igwe also said that the economic viability of the airport could not be counted, as it would greatly improve the state’s Internal Generated Revenue.
He added, “So, this airport will boost the state’s economy because the charges will be going to Anambra government’s coffers and the IGR will increase. It will also reduce stress to the indigenes of the state.”
The NAAPE image-maker charged the state to make good use of the airport, even as he beckoned other states to emulate Anambra government.
“Moving goods from Lagos to Onitsha is longer than moving from Aguleri to Onitsha. So the importance cannot be overemphasised and I pray other states to borrow a leaf.
“Definitely, their IGR will be increased because the passenger charges must be introduced just like what has been introduced by Ibom Air. And all these will be added to the IGR.”
According to him, direct and indirect jobs for the skilled and unskilled will also be created.
Describing the airport as a welcome development, a business mogul, JohnPaul Ejiogu, called on the state government to make the airport more attractive to patrons.
His words, “The Anambra airport is an economic boost to the country, the South East region and the state in particular. The state is obviously going to gain because a lot of money will be coming to its coffers. It is going to open up the region.
“However, it is not enough to have an airport; we have to do something that is very attractive to the indigenes. You have to convince the people why they should patronise the airport, in sending goods especially. We also expect the government to complete the work on Onitsha port to further open up that region.”
Lending his voice, Emmanuel Anyebe said, “It is a good thing I must say. It is part of the development people are yearning for. I am from Benue State, and I think it’s easier for me to use the airport. It can also be used for waybills. Definitely it’s going to boost the state’s economy,”
According to Festus Irabor, who hails from Delta State, the airport is going to boost trade on that axis tremendously.
He said, “For some of us who are from Delta, it will go a long way to reduce the traffic around the Delta airport. What I will advise is for them to ensure that adequate facilities are put in place.”
Oyi Benjamin, a trader, feels safer to fly with his family using the airport for security reasons, especially during the yuletide.
“I am so grateful to the Governor Willie Obiano government in Anambra for this initiative. I can also comfortably do my waybill through the airport and be assured that it will get to the destination on time and intact” he said.
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