Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, commissions his signature project, a magnificent international-style airport, at Umueri, Anambra State.
The airport is named Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umueri, with location identifier, ANA.
The colourful but politically charged event took place yesterday 29 October 2021 at a well-attended ceremony.
Anambra is embroiled in boisterous political campaigns to choose Obiano’s successor as Governor on 6 November, a week from today.
The ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) hopes to use the airport project to shore up the election prospects of its candidate.
Thus, hundreds of APGA party faithful and joyous citizens attended the colourful ceremony.
However, the conspicuous absence of two scheduled Airpeace flights from Lagos and Abuja slightly marred their joy.
Airpeace, leading local airline owned by an Anambra indigene, accepted bookings to fly passengers from Abuja and Lagos to Anambra.
Passengers who pre-booked for the trip were later told that the authoritites refused to grant permission to fly.
Governor Obiano said regulatory authorities cancelled the flights because interested airlines have yet to set up counters at Umueri.
He however commended President Buhari and Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika for giving appropriate approvals for the Airport to commence business.
“This airport has been certified and has met all needs for commercial purposes.
“Unfortunately, the flights that were fully booked for today, both from Abuja and Lagos, could not come because the regulatory authorities said the commercial airlines that will operate here will need to have counters here before operations will start.
“The airlines that will operate in this airport include Air Peace, Ibom Air, Dana Air, United Nigeria Air and Anab Jets.
A dream come true
“The dreams we have nurtured for 30 years have come true today,” he continued.
“We fought many battles to be here today, including COVID lockdowns.
“I have been assured by aviation experts that this is going to be the most viable airport in Nigeria.
“NCAA has before now approved the landing of seven planes here.”
Airline operators say the runway is long and wide enough to land wide bodied planes.
It has a runway of 3.7km, the second longest in Nigeria and apron with 300 by 200 metres dimension.
The State Government projects that the airport will employ over 1,000 workers
The airport had witnessed a number of commercial and private aircraft landings at its inaugural test flight in May
Anambra Commissions Umueri Airport