From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The soon-to-be unveiled Cross River State-owned Cally Air would revolutionise the aviation sector in the country, immediate past Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Mary Ekpere-Eta, has predicted.
“Cally Air, as promising as it is, stands to dictate the pace in the aviation sector. And for the state, it will not only yield dividends to its treasury but will create thousands of jobs for our teeming youths. I am overjoyed by this new entrant into the aviation sector.
“Cally Air took delivery of its first Boeing 737-300 (737-31S, 5N-BYR, msn 29266) on April 6, 2021. A second Boeing 737-300 (5N-BYQ, msn 30334) has also been delivered on April 28, 2020. The two Boeing 737 aircrafts have a carrying capacity of 142 and 144 passengers respectively. And more aircrafts are still underway.
“Governor Ayade’s decision to establish Cally Air is as a result of the high cost of air fares in the country, particularly the Lagos-Calabar and Calabar Abuja routes where a passenger pays over N70,000 to fly to Calabar. The route to Calabar, either from Lagos or Abuja, is the most expensive in Nigeria.
“The governor had said the outrageous charges was due to the non-corresponding surplus of airlines coming into Calabar which was the reason he promptly responded to the yearnings of the people.
“Considering the tourism potentials in the state, I am sure you understand better than I do, the need to have an affordable and efficient airline plying the route which Cally Air is the right answer to,” Ekpere-Eta said.
Ekpere-Eta said Ayade, having created the ministry of aviation was also constructing an airport to support the patronage of international tourists coming to Obudu cattle ranch.
“The airline, according to the governor, will fly Lagos-Calabar Obudu and Abuja- Calabar-Obudu-Lagos-Abuja routes for now. The two aircrafts will resume operations in few weeks time. So, it is clear that Governor Ayade is not only developing the economic fortunes of Cross River State but putting the state on the global map.”
Ekpere-Eta also expressed delight that Governor Ben Ayade has joined the progressive family following his recent defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
She said with the development, the state would gain from all fronts considering the enabling potentials in the state and President Muhammadu Buhari’s disposition towards the governor and the state.
Ekpere-Eta noted that even before joining the APC, Buhari has been supportive of Cross River State, which she said was visible in the industrialisation of the state, particularly in the empowerment of women and youths.
On recent remarks by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Governor Ayade’s decision to join the APC, particularly the quit notice by the National Secretariat of the PDP led by Prince Uche Secondus, Ekpere-Eta said she was not losing sleep over what some disgruntled politicians think of him.