International flight may commence before the end of this year at the Anambra International Airport as the Anambra State Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Patricia Igwebuike, in this interview with Prince Okafor, disclosed that discussions are ongoing with some airlines in France, Germany and United States to commence operations. Excerpt:
What is the state of the airport?
The domestic passenger airlines are flying through Anambra State at the moment, Air Peace, and United Airline are the only companies moving their aircraft through the state. The airport is located at Umuleri, has the second-longest runway in Nigeria, about 4km. The airport is located in a strategic position which is close to Onitsha and Awka, the state capital.
According to available report, from Anambra to Miami is just eight hours, so we are engaging with them to find out ways we can make it possible for airlines to carry passengers from Anambra to Miami directly.
Commerce is our second name, and we are always open for business. We are ready to build relationships and interface with our contemporaries around the world. We are also looking for partners from airports around the world. We are new, and the advantage of being new is that we get to do things in line with international best practices.
We are ready to use that level of standard. We are looking for investors and experts that will assist us in capacity-building. Also, we want to grow our revenue base.
Has there been any major engagement with other operators?
Currently, we have just two airlines operating in the state. We are discussing with other airlines, including international airlines, and we are doing things systematically and learning from those who are already in the system.
We do not believe in reinventing the wheel. We have engaged with some companies in France, Munich, and now we are engaging the Maimi Dade County. We will seek a partnership or some sort of collaboration. We are going to acquire all the necessary footprints to make ourselves known.
Is the airport currently generating revenue for the state?
Anambra Airport is built as an international cargo and passenger airport and we are still growing. We have generated revenue from the airport for the government of the state.
It is very promising from the way we are going and when we grow it the way we want to grow it, both the commercial arm and others, it will be self-sustaining. That is where we are going.