by Dare Lawal
It was a historical occasion in Enugu state today as for the first time ever, an international commercial flight landed at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport. Earlier this week, a private aircraft belonging to businessman Emeka Offor had landed at the airport to clinch that piece of history, but Saturday was the first commercial flight.
The crowd which stormed the airport to witness what is a significant event for a lot of South-Easterners, were ecstatic as the plane landed around 12.10am.
Carrying 20 passengers on board, the Boeing 737 aircraft took off from Addis Ababa. For its return flight, 58 passengers were on board.
The crew was personally led by the deputy chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, Esayas Haylu.
Present at the airport to receive the aircraft were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Minister of aviation, Stella Oduah; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Minister for power, Chinedu Nebo; and all South East governors apart from Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo.
Present also were the national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh and Comfort Obi of the Police Service Commission.
Deputy CEO Ethiopian Airlines, who also serves as its chief commercial officer, Esayas Haylu expressed happiness that his Airlines was the first to commence international flights to Enugu and greeted the crowd on arrival with the traditional Igbo greeting of “Igbo Kwenu”.
He praised the “spirit of Igbo people”, saying repeatedly, “I love you, I love you”.