The governor of Cross River State, Sir Ben Ayade, yesterday took delivery of yet another Boeing 737 aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos for the state’s commercial airline, Cally Air.
The aircraft was formerly owned by airBaltic. It is a 21-year-old Boeing 737-300 aircraft, re-registered as 5N-BYQ. It was stored at Ostrava Airport in Czech Republic, waiting to be ferried to Nigeria. It previously operated for airBaltic as YL-BBX, leased from Tokyo Century Corporation. The airplane is configured with an all-economy 144 seat cabin.
The arrival of the second aircraft is coming barely three weeks after the first one was received on April 6, 2021.
On ground to receive the second aircraft at Arik Air hanger in Lagos were the trio of the state Commissioner for Finance, Auquo Ekpeyong Jr., Director-General of of Due Process, Alphonsus Ogar, Director-General, Bureau of Public Private Partnership, Udiba Udiba.
The two Boeing 737 aircraft have a carrying capacity of 142 and 144 passenger respectively.
Ayade while announcing the floating of Cally Air, early this year, had decried the prohibitive air transport cost in the country, particularly the Lagos-Calabar and Calabar Abuja routes, querying why “a passenger would pay over N70,000 to fly to Calabar? The route to Calabar either from Lagos or Abuja is the most expensive in Nigeria.”
The governor explained that the outrageous charges was due to “the fact that there is no corresponding surplus of airlines coming into Calabar. So it is a responsibility of government to respond to the challenge of our people, recognizing that they are being extorted as a result of monopoly.”
He said he created the Ministry of Aviation to bring into realisation the birth of Cally Airline. We are constructing an airport in Obudu to support the patronage of international tourists coming to Obudu cattle ranch.
“we need to take advantage of the massive climatic condition suitable for the growth of ornamental plants for export in Obudu cattle ranch.”
Additionally, the governor said “it would increase the state Internally Generated Revenue and also generate employment opportunities for teaming unemployed youths in the state.”
Ayade said the airline would fly Lagos-Calabar Obudu and Abuja- Calabar-Obudu-Lagos-Abuja routes.