The state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, was on ground to receive the inaugural flight which departed the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos by 7:00 a.m via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Makurdi.
The inaugural flight P47440 arrived Makurdi Airport at 9:15am to a ceremonial water salute by officials of the Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting unit of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Also on ground to receive the inaugural flight was a former governor of the state and Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume and the Airport Manager, Mrs. Comfort Ogbuagwu.
The flight would operate weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays connecting passengers from Lagos and Abuja to Makurdi.
The Ground Operations Manager of Air Peace, Mr. Ayodeji Adeyemi who represented the Chairman at the inaugural flight ceremony, described the flight as “a historic feat as no airline currently operates flights from Lagos and Abuja to Makurdi.
Adeyemi said the decision to operate to Makurdi was “borne out of our persisting original vision to interconnect various cities across Nigeria, thereby fostering unity and promoting impactful economic relations.”
The Makurdi route, according to him, has been on popular demand by Nigerians, as he stressed, “As a socially sensitive and responsive airline, we’re constantly reviewing our route network vis-à-vis public needs while considering strategic ways of expanding it to provide immense value to Nigerians.”
Air Peace promised that the new route “will be optimally serviced, and Nigerians will benefit exceedingly.”
Adeyemi further stated that the newly launched route would crystallize in employment opportunities for the indigenes of the Benue state as the airline was primarily set up “to fill unemployment gaps in the country”. He also solicited the continued support and cooperation of all relevant stakeholders for the airline to keep accomplishing the lofty feats.
Governor Ortom commended the airline’s management for the opportunity to have commercial air transport to Benue State, saying the development would boost the state’s economy.
He added that having a commercial flight to the state would open it up for foreign direct investment (FDI) as the fear of travelling to the state by road has been completely removed.
“I particularly thank the Air Peace Chairman for accepting this partnership and we are hopeful this would be fruitful. It will also ease the travel burden of our people,” he said.
Also, Senator George Akume, who was aboard the return flight to Abuja noted that there have been several unsuccessful attempts in the past to ensure regular flights into Makurdi, expressing hope that this arrangement changes that.