Gov Wike with Ethiopian Airline Chief Executive Officer

The Rivers state government has entered into an agreement for the operation of Ethiopian airline into the Port Harcourt International Airport subject to the approval of the relevant federal government authorities.

The agreement is said to have been reached after a successful meeting with the Ethiopian airline’s authorities in Addis Ababa in which the Group Chief Executive Officer of the airline Dr. Tewole Gebremariam attended along with other senior managers.

Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media in a statement said the Chief Commercial Officer of the airline Esayas Mariam assure the governor of their willingness and capability to enter Port Harcourt.

He was quoted as saying “We are willing and capable to fly into Port Harcourt on a regular basis. For now, we have exhausted our bilateral Air Agreement Approval and we need another approval to operate the Port Harcourt route.

“We need your help to ensure that approval comes from the federal authorities. At first, there should be a temporary operating permit, pending the final approval.”

The support expected from the Rivers state government, according to Mariam is in the area of handling and aviation infrastructure in Port Harcourt to develop the new market.

On its part, the airlines pledged to all that is expected of it to make the anticipated route profitable. This includes advertisements and promoting Port Harcourt as a tourist and investment destination.

In his response, Governor Wike pledged to work with the airlines to achieve the set target and goals assuring the airlines of an enabling environment to operate and prosper.

He promised to work towards securing the Port Harcourt route as a destination for Ethiopian airlines. He also vowed not to relent until Port Harcourt becomes a regional air transport hub for greater economic development of the state.

According to Wike, “As we, therefore, consolidate on our achievements, we want to also focus on making Port Harcourt City a regional hub through the private-public partnership approach while leveraging the existing aviation infrastructure and related market and other advantages of the state”.

“I wish to assure you that we are ready to do everything within our powers and spheres of authority and influence to facilitate the realization of your interest and desire directly and sustainably fly from Port Harcourt to Addis Ababa and other parts of the world.”