Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, on Thursday, celebrated Cross River State commercial airliner, Cally Air, when it made its maiden flight from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Ayade who boarded the plane after it landed for inspection, said he was happy that the Cally Air’s dream which started in 2016, was a reality without any borrowing by the government.
He said that intellectual money made procurement of the aircrafts possible.
While congratulating the people of Cross River state for the feat, he said that “This is the beginning of Cross River state’s emancipation and complete decoupling from dependence on the federal government.
“My strong conviction is that Cally Air is the beginning of the privatisation process of actually creating a private sector that never existed before. It is also the beginning of creating an alternative economy that never existed in Cross River state.”
He also said that the Cally Air reality was a strong message that sub-nationals could actually become fully independent.
The airliner, he noted, was going to increase passenger traffic to Cross River state and the Obudu International Airport which he disclosed would be completed by December, 2021.
“Let the people know today that anything your mind conceives can be achieved. Cally Air will also be flying Obudu and Obudu Cattle Ranch will have its huge traffic,” he said.
The governor also said Cally Air involvement in Nigeria’s aviation industry would increase the industry standards for other aviators to follow, while ensuring safety and punctuality remained paramount.
He said, “Even if I, as the governor, is late for boarding by one minute, the planes have to shut their doors and leave me on the ground.