For four years, Cally Air ✈️ flew over 400 million nautical miles across the pages of social media. Taking off from Twitter and landing on Facebook and from Facebook to Instagram. And sometimes touching down in Snapchat and Tiktok. Then last year, after all the hype and propaganda, came the pomp.
Two Boeing planes were introduced followed by a massive media campaign with slogans like “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t flying”, “Cally Air to the world” etc. I was worried, as the former status; of it being in the pipeline; perpetually on paper, seemed better to me! I expressed my reservations when Ayade’s so-called dream came to fruition.
I insisted that Cross River State didn’t have to compete with Akwa Ibom because we weren’t ready as a State for aviation business. And also considering Ayade’s penchant for putting the cart before the horse in everything he ventures into. I got a good amount of stick, for airing my mind back then. I was referred to as an enemy of progress by even those in the left-wing. Barely six months after all the razzmatazz that followed its launch, it has been revealed that the two planes that were bought for CallyAir’s operations, have been grounded for months.
One hasn’t even done a single commercial flight, while the other is in need of spares to be used in replacing faulty parts. We also heard that Aero contractors, its official partner, has pulled out due to a lack of commitment from the Cross River State Government on the counterpart funding arrangement that they’d entered. In between, we had the State’s Aviation Commissioner, visiting a commercial bank with a mob and threatening all sorts because of Cally Air’s monies warehoused there.
We also had the name being modified from CallyAir to CallyAero as national aviation regulators had queried the State and warned them against that usage due to their inability to secure/procure an aviation license. During its operations, there were quite a number of reports of passenger’s luggages being abandoned at the departure points, with a video of passengers coming to blows with airport officials, widely circulated during one of such occasions.
My innocent question is, is there still hope for Ayade’s CallyAir after all these? Or has it flown into oblivion like Rochas Okorocha’s Imo Air?
Simon Utsu, is a Cross Riverian and writes from Lagos via email@example.com
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Simon Utsu and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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