As Ethiopian Airlines Berths in Enugu… Anyim, South-east Governors Celebrate Historic Flight
The people of the South-east zone literally rolled out the drums saturday as the aircraft belonging to Ethiopian Airlines landed at the remodelled Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, in the first international flight at the airport.
Prominent leaders of the zone, including the governors of Abia, Theodore Orji; Anambra, Peter Obi; Ebonyi, Martin Elechi, and Sullivan Chime of Enugu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; ministers from the zone, including those of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Power, Chinedu Nebo; Aviation, Stella Oduah, and Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, among others, were on hand to receive the Boeing 737 Jet airliner marked ET-APL.
The entire airport witnessed a sea of heads as traditional, religious leaders as well as members of the National Assembly led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, state assembly members from the five states in the zone, council chairmen, party leaders, including the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, celebrated as the aircraft, which carried about 25 passengers from Addis Ababa, landed about 12:14 pm.
As soon as the crowd that thronged the Akanu Ibiam International Airport to witness the arrival of the first passenger international flight sighted the Ethiopian Airlines, they went frenzy in jubilation.
The crew was personally led by the Deputy Chief Commercial Officer of the Ethiopian Airlines, Esayas Haylu.
Haylu expressed happiness that the airline was the first to commence international flights to Enugu . He greeted the crowd with the traditional Igbo greeting of “Igbo Kwenu” as he came down from the plane.
Haylu praised the “spirit of Igbo people”, saying repeatedly, “I love you, I love you”.
He promised that the Ethiopian Airlines would ensure that it abides by the aviation rules and regulations of Nigeria as long as they fly the Enugu route, which he said is their 76th destination across the world.
Others who spoke at the airport included the Chief of Staff, Enugu State, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, Aviation Minister, Oduah, Ekweremadu, Governor Obi as well as SGF Anyim who all expressed appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for fulfilling his campaign promise of starting off an international airport in the South-east.
They noted that the commencement of international flight operation at the airport would go a long way in boosting economic activities in the South-east, as the area known for having men and women with business interests would take advantage of the airport.
About 158 passengers, including Ekweremadu and Chime, boarded the flight, which left the airport about 2:20pm back to Addis-Ababa enroute United Kingdom.