By Our Correspondent
Huge investments in navigational equipment at the Bebi Airstrip by the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, yesterday began to bear fruit with Aero Contractors commencing commercial flights to Obudu Ranch Resort.
Speaking shortly after touching down on a return flight from the Ranch Resort to Calabar, on a Dash 8 300 Series, 5N-B|JO, a 5o-seater aircraft, immediate past Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Tourism, Mr. Wilfred Usani expressed delight at the commencement of flights, saying its been long overdue.
Mr. Usani said yesterday’s flight to the Resort was imperative, adding that “the Cross River State Government has acquired an aircraft which will be managed on behalf of the government by Aero Contractors.
According to Usani, “Aero Contractors is currently carrying out maintenance on the aircraft which would be delivered to the government in June. Based on the agreement, the company was to begin a maiden flight today (yesterday).
The commencement of the commercial flight is expected to open up bi-weekly flights from Calabar to Bebi. Part of the partnership is to ensure that flight from Calabar to Obudu becomes regular and on schedule.”
Continuing, Usani said: “For us, the significance of the partnership is tremendous as we plan to bring about additional value to our tourism offering. For long, we have been challenged by access to the Obudu Mountain Resort, which is one of our very important tourist sites in the state.
“What we have succeeded in achieving with the partnership also, is that we have been able to kill travel time usually expended on road to the Ranch. The flight we embarked on today (yesterday) took us just 35 minutes. There is no doubt that it will significantly improve access to the Resort. For us, it is a major achievement in our tourism drive.”
Usani noted that “the feat recorded by the state and is an eloquent testimony to the outgone governor, Senator Imoke’s passion in entrenching the state in global tourism map.”
While describing his experience on the flight, Usani said the 35-minute flight was enjoyable and hitch-free, adding that “the flight when fully operational in June, will service other destinations across the country. I can tell you that it was a pleasant experience. From our discussions, commercial flight operation commences every weekend in a week’s time. As I said, we intend to build up the rout to cover some others across the country. So, any tourists coming to the Ranch outside the state will first of all touch down in Calabar from where he or she takes the Aero flight to Obudu.”
Recounting his experience, the flight Captain, Mr. Dawodu Adegboyega, disclosed that there was nothing unusual about the flight as it was not his first to the Ranch.
His words: “It is all about doing the environment very well and following the procedure. It was a wonderful experience and I actually look forward to going there again.”
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