Commercial flights to resume in Markudi as Air force, FAAN sign agreement


Commercial flight operations are set to resume at the military airport, Makurdi, Benue state after prolonged restriction.


This was disclosed at the signing ceremony of the Joint Use Agreement held at the New banquet hall of Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, with Samuel Ortom, Benue state governor, in attendance.


The agreement was among the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).


Air Peace started inaugural flight operations in December 2020 to Makurdi airport but stopped after few weeks.


In June, Ortom had said the suspension was because the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the regulatory body, said some other regulations needed to be complied with before resumption of flight operation.


Speaking at the event, Ortom said that the lack of aircraft denied the state of collaborations with top personalities and that many people who wanted to access the state could not due to the lack of commercial flights.


“Benue state had been for a long time deleted from Nigeria map because of no flight,” he said.


 “Some distinguish personalities who wanted to work with us couldn’t do so because of flights, they are denied such opportunity and we too are denied the opportunity, because of insecurity.


“The challenge had been air traffic. I believe that in a short while many things about Benue will now change and the economy of our people will grow.”


The governor also noted the immense support of the Nigerian Air Force to the state in areas of security, education, health, saying that the stoppage of commercial flight operations was due to lack of proper documentation.


James Gwani, NAF chief of training, air operation, the representative of the chief of air staff, chief of training and operations headquarters at the event, said that the utilisation of NAF aerodrome for civil flight operations was a component of their corporate social responsibility and civil-military relationship and that the economic and social benefits would be massive.


 “The use of NAF aerodrome in Makurdi for civil flights is for the benefits of Benue people. It’s our way of responding to corporate responsibility by ensuring civil flights using our facility,” he said.


“Shortly, we shall see the multiplier effect on the economy of the state. We shall work with FAAN to ensure smooth operations.”


Clifford Omozeghian, FAAN’s company secretary and legal adviser, who represented the MD/CEO, said FAAN management was passionate about fulfilling its role in the agreement, especially with the impending responsibility of operating the Markudi airport.


“NAF signs a joint user agreement for both civil and NAF operation. FAAN under the joint user agreement will be responsible for the operation of the Makurdi airport which will include commercial flights, agricultural, and VIP flights, Omozeghian said.


 “We shall work to meet our responsibility in the joint agreement.”


Ayodeji Ayodele, a representative of Air Peace, said with the signing of the agreement will ensure that Air Peace was part of the December flight schedule inbound and outbound Markurdi.


Ahmed Abdu, director legal and secretary, NiMet and Aver Gbem, legal adviser NAMA, signed for their agencies, respectively.

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