The Imo State Government is set to launch Imo Air to be operated by Dana Airline, in a partnership deal.
Dana Airline Communications Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to Ezenwa, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo said at Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri during the launch of the partnership that the contract will last for a 10-year period.
“It is borne out of our desire to increase business activities in Imo, improve tourism drive, diversify its economy and provide employment opportunities for our citizens.
“We have no Air Operator Certificate and that is why we approached one of the leading airlines in Nigeria to manage this service for us.
“We believe that our partnership with Dana Air to operate Imo Air is a step in the right direction to open Imo State to the world,” Okorocha said.
Okorocha also said the Imo International Cargo is in the offing as part of the initiatives to open up Southeast to importers and exporters.
He said this would reduce the over -reliance on Lagos, Kano and other international airports for the export and import of goods into the country.
“This initiative is no doubt a boost for the Southeast economic liberation struggle,’’ Okorocha said in the statement.
The Accountable Manager of Dana air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo, said the airline was delighted with the partnership. “It is a well thought-out decision by the state government’’.
“As you may be aware, Dana Air is the only domestic airline to have undergone an operational audit conducted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and its foreign partners- The Flight Safety Group.
” Also, in our determination to meet the highest global aviation safety standards, Dana Air recently concluded its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) with a strong desire to move on to the next stage soon.
“Our continuous investment in human capital development, training and retraining of staff to meet the challenges of the industry has culminated in a dedicated, loyal, meticulous, pragmatic and highly motivated workforce.
“This has also been the secret of our consistency and steady growth in the industry, despite the multiplying operational challenges that domestic airlines have to grapple with,” the statement quoted Mbanuzuo as saying.
According to him, Dana air, having flown over 4.5 million passengers in the last eight years of its operations, is one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with over 27 daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Uyo.