Cheers as Ethiopian airline’s passenger plane lands in Enugu

It was a tremendous cheer yesterday as Ethiopian Airline’s latest passenger plane, Boeing 787, 900 series landed at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

The 350-passenger capacity aircraft flown by Captain Mulatu Abebe from Adis Ababa landed at the Enugu airport at about 11.30 am amid shout of joy from residents who gathered to welcome the flight. It was the first time the two-month old plane would land on the Nigerian soil.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was full of smile while receiving the crew and passengers that boarded the aircraft. He said his administration would continue to partner with the airline to make its stay conducive in the state.

According to the governor, the target of the government is to ensure that more international flights come into the state. He said that since the airline started its operation in Enugu, more passengers had been trooping in to travel through the state.

“I want to place it on record that we are not resting in our bid to ensure that bigger aircraft operate the international route of this airport. It will increase the flow of passengers because Enugu is safe and secured.

“Today is a wonderful day, the first time such a plane is landing in Enugu State and capital of the southeast. Enugu State
government is happy that in this administration such a thing is happening. This is not the target, this is a small plane compared to what we are expecting to be landing in this airport. We expect bigger plans and more aircraft to be landing. I know Ethiopian Airline will say it is a competition, but no matter the number of plane landing here, we still have enough passengers because a lot of people want to travel from Enugu. It is more convenience for us instead of going through Abuja or Lagos,” Ugwuanyi, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Uwakwe Azikwe, said.

The Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma, described the inaugural flight as a welcome development. He said the airline had reduced the sufferings of southeast travelers since it started operation in the state.

The cleric appealed to the Federal Government to complete the international wing of the airport and rehabilitate the local wing.

Chukwuma urged southeast and south-south businessmen to use the opportunity provided by the latest aircraft to boost their businesses.

He cautioned against acts that could compromise security and integrity of the airport.

The Ethiopian Airline’s Traffic and Sales Manager, Ato Biniam Addisu, said the company was operating in more than 100 destinations all over the world, and considered Nigeria as its second largest market.

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