Ethiopian Airlines and the River State Government have signed a deal that will allow the carrier to operate international flights from Port Harcourt permanently. This agreement is subject to the approval of relevant federal authorities.
The deal was signed between both parties in Addis Ababa, the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines. This was after a meeting attended by the Group Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Dr Tewolde Gebremariam and other top managers.
The Details: The Chief Commercial Officer of the airline, Esayas Mariam expressed her willingness to make the arrangement work. She was quoted in a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu where she urged the River State Government to hasten the approval process.
“We are willing and capable to fly into Port Harcourt on a regular basis. For now, we have exhausted our Bilateral Air Agreement Approval and we need another approval to operate the Port Harcourt route.
“We need your help to ensure that approval comes from the federal authorities. At first, there should be a temporary operating permit, pending the final approval.” She said.
Responding to Mariam’s plea, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, pledged to support Ethiopian Airlines and promised to provide the right environment that would enable the carrier to thrive in the state. He also added that he would facilitate the required processes after meeting with the Minister of Aviation.
“As we, therefore, consolidate on our achievements, we want to also focus on making Port Harcourt city a regional air transport hub through the private-public partnership approach while leveraging the existing aviation infrastructure and related market and other advantages of the state.
“I wish to assure you that we are ready to do everything within our powers and spheres of authority and influence to facilitate the realisation of your interest and desire directly and sustainably fly from Port Harcourt to Addis Ababa and other parts of the world,” Wike replied.