The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Mr Steve Otaloro, has lauded the efforts of Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in revamping the Akure Airport.
Otaloro made the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Akure.
According to him, the world of aviation industry has demonstrated stable growth in the last decade which suggests the possibility of continued expansion in the years to come.
He said that the revenue in the global aviation industry grew at a compound annual growth rate of around 5.3 per cent between 2009 and 2019, generating about 838 billion dollars in 2019.
“This is probably the reason Gov. Akeredolu immediately tapped into the almost non-existent sector in the state when he came on board on Feb. 24, 2017,” he said.
Referring to the airport, Otaloro said its landmass was three times bigger in size than the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
The APC spokesman said that in 2013 the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) designated 13 airports as perishable cargo airports in a bid to transform the aviation sector into a major revenue earner for the country.
He noted that the Akure airport was one of the airports designated by FAAN to benefit from the transformation, but it never materialised.
Otaloro said that the airline operators in the country did not think that the Akure airport was commercially viable until the governor brought in Peace Airlinw, which now operates flights between Akure and Abuja and Akure and Lagos, at subsidised rates.
“The Ondo State Government also helped in creating public awareness for the airline and facilitated advertorials for its patronage.
“Gov. Akeredolu took it upon himself the role of the spokesperson of the airline advocating on its behalf and using the weight of his office to bring in people to transact business with it.
“This public enlightenment campaign resonated with the people and led to noticeable increase in the number of passengers traversing the airport.
“This campaign increased the flight at the Akure airport route significantly, from its initial two flights a week to a daily commercial passenger flights,” he said.
He said that the number of airlines operators in the state had also increased from one to three airlines and all of them pick passengers from Abuja to Akure, from Lagos to Akure and vice versa, on a daily basis.
“These routes have at present become profitable for the airline operators and hold the records at the fastest growth rate in the aviation industry in Nigeria,” he said.
Otaloro said that with the success recorded at the airport, Akeredolu had since proposed building a new and bigger passenger terminal at the airport.
“This is to cater for the huge influx of passengers in the state and from neighbouring and Ekiti and Osun, who throng the airport to travel to Abuja and Lagos, while also returning same day to Akure.
“This has boosted the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR),” he stated. (NAN)