Bayelsa State Government says with the scheduled commencement of commercial flights from its international airport, the state is set to become a major economic hub in the country and the Gulf of Guinea.
The government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Nigeria Airlines to commence commercial flights from next month.
Special Adviser to the governor on Investment, Dr. Jonathan Obuebite, said the government has done everything to ensure that the airport runs smoothly and in accordance with aviation standards.
While expressing delight that the yearnings of Bayelsans to have a functional airport has come to fruition, Obuebite added that the dream of the founding fathers of the state has also been fulfilled.
He stated that the MoU signed by the government with United Nigerian Airlines, is a further proof that the Prosperity Administration of Governor Douye Diri is committed to giving Bayelsans the best.
Obuebite explained that the MoU makes the airline the state’s official carrier, but added that the airport is open to private individuals and other airlines, willing to use it under a private and public arrangement.
“Bayelsa is the heart of the Ijaw Nation as such the airport will guarantee more investments in the state, as it will open up Bayelsa State to the world.
“Even before the official commencement of commercial flights, it has been in use for a while now. I’m sure you are aware that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and other top government dignitaries, have been using it just like officials of the Nigerian Airforce.
“With the security challenges the country has been facing, the take off of the airport will help investors and prospective investors who have reservations about travelling by road to fly directly into the state, do their businesses and go back”.
According to him, the airport will also attract tourists to the state, being that Bayelsa has many historical sites to be visited like the first oil well in Oloibiri in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
He debunked insinuations that the airport will experience low traffic, stressing that it will be highly patronized, especially by workers of multinational companies, as it will enhance their day to day operations.
“There are a lot of oil companies in the state and their staff and other officials will be flying in and out. Also, the state-owned universities, Federal University and investors will use the airport as such it will be busy with flights leaving and coming in every day of the week”, he said.
Speaking on other areas of investment, Hon. Obuebite said the state government is also calling for partnership in sectors like power, tourism, agriculture and in building refineries.
He noted that with the large gas reserve in the state, gas turbines in different locations will resolve the issues of power outage and create a more enabling environment for businesses to thrive.