This is just as he stated that there is a gap in the Nigerian aviation industry, one that the airline is poised to fill by providing top notch services especially now that security issues around the nation has driven up a demand for travel by air.
United Nigeria Chairman made this known today as new entrant to the Nigerian aviation industry, United Nigeria commenced operations taking off from Lagos to Enugu, Enugu to Abuja, Abuja back to Enugu and then to Lagos.
He said, “Well, we can see that there is a gap in this industry and we have not made any mistake to make Enugu aviation hub. Enugu state government will give us encouragement. We have been drive by service; service in to the industry; service to mankind.
“Our short term is to consolidate. You can see we have a base in Enugu. And we have to consolidate, establish all our routes and then work about expanding. We want to expand beyond Nigeria, starting from the West Coast; just for a start. We have a big plan.
On the projected traffic and if he is convinced the airline would make inroads in the sector, he stressed, “The market is huge; there is need for a lot of aircraft. It might surprise you to know that we have full load in all the routes we have operated this morning. Today is the first day of our service so that is good and it shows what will happen
He also expressed preparedness for competition in the industry stating that there is little to worry about as the airline is new and a dark horse for now.
“Well, we are in. I guess those who are in the business should be competing with us first. We should be the people they should be worried about because we are new. We think that within the next three months we shall be able to expand our routes,” Dr. Okonkwo said.
Representing the Governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Prof. Malachy Okwueze expressed excitement at the new operations into the state stressing that the state would encourage the airline.
“We congratulate the company, particularly, the chairman of United Nigeria for this very giant feat. We are excited not only because United Nigeria is now flying into Enugu but particularly because Enugu is the hub for United Nigeria. Enugu is the best state that any business can thrive; it is a home of peace. It is the safest State in Nigeria.
“I can assure you on behalf of the governor that you have not made any mistake to make Enugu your hub. Enugu State government will give you all the encouragement and we will continue to support you. We are glad to welcome you and we will continue to partner with you and we say once again, congratulations.
Terminal manager, Akanu Ibiam International Airport,Mrs Cecilia Oguama who also spoke said the coming of United Nigeria will also boost traffic as already there has been marginal growth at the airport with regards aircraft and passenger movement.
She said,” We are happy that United Airlines has commenced operations and we know that if they create enough awareness, they will have enough passengers.
“The traffic in and out of the airport has increased tremendously. We are now having between 6000 and 7000 passengers weekly. Before COVID19, we had less than 1000 passenger traffic because we had only one airline then. In 2019, we only had Air Peace operating but now we have four others operating regularly including United Airline.
“We have close to eight flights daily and United Airline has made Enugu their base, so they would enjoy tremendous support from the airport. Cargo movement has not started yet because the international terminal hasn’t opened for operations.”