From all indications Imo State, south-east Nigeria, has broken new ground by emerging the first state in the country to own and operate an airline, simply named IMO AIR.
Imo State Collaborates With Dana Air To Launch New 'Imo Airline'
Earlier today, the state Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, reportedly led top government functionaries and major stakeholders in the state to take delivery of the first batch of aircrafts at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, according to an aide to the governor, Fcc Jones Onwuasoanya.
He added that “IMO AIR” is billed to hold its own against other operators in the Nigerian aviation sector, while providing, enhanced revenue for the State, massive employment for Imo citizens and business opportunities for Imolites and Ndi Igbo in general.”
It is understood that a cargo wing of the airline, Imo International Cargo, will soon be launched with a view to opening up the entire Southeast region to importers and exporters of all kinds of commodities as a means of enhancing trade and reducing the pressure on more established routes across the country.
During the launch of IMO AIR, Governor Okorocha reportedly stated that the Cargo services will take off by April, 2017 in what will be a massive boost for the “Southeast economic liberation struggle.”
While this is a welcome development, particularly in light of the moribund state of the nation’s aviation sector, political watchers have claimed that the pioneer aircraft of IMO AIR belongs to Dana Air and is being used by the Imo State government for yet another publicity stunt.
However, Onwuasoanya debunked the claims, stating that Dana Air is simply operating the airline given the bad history of government at managing such businesses.
There is however, the problem of misplaced priorities as many question the benefit of launching an airline with the state’s civil service in disarray, pensioners going through brutal ordeals and widespread strife.