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Ibom Air, a commercial airline owned by the Akwa Ibom State government, has added another aircraft to its fleet.

The new aircraft, a bombardier CRJ 900, arrived at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, from Calgary, Canada, at 10:48 p.m. on Tuesday, the airline management said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement is posted on Ibom Air Facebook page.

The latest addition brings the number of aircraft in Ibom Air fleet to four.

“This particular aircraft, with registration number 5N-BXP, made its maiden commercial flight in May 2014 (just 6 years ago),” the statement said. “Thus, Ibom Air continues to operate the lowest average fleet age amongst Nigeria’s airlines. This fleet strategy is in line with our vision to be a world-class African regional airline.”

The statement added, “A key benefit of Ibom Air’s very modern fleet of Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft is that they all come fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

“HEPA filters are high-intensity filters that do not just filter dust, but effectively capture greater than 99% of the airborne microbes in the filtered air, including microscopic particles such as bacteria and viruses. Cabin air in HEPA equipped aircraft generally pass through the filters 20-30 times per hour, removing contaminants and greatly enhancing the quality of air in the cabin.”

This is cheering news for the people of Akwa Ibom, especially with the circumstances of the moment – the COVID-19 fear and its associated impact. Most people in Akwa Ibom see Ibom Air as the pride of their state.

Ibom Air, which launched its maiden flight in June 2019, has been flying Uyo-Abuja and Uyo-Lagos routes. It later expanded into the Abuja-Lagos route before airports and airlines in Nigeria temporarily shut down because of the novel coronavirus.

“Today’s occasion is a watershed moment for us as a people,” the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, said at an airport ceremony before the inaugural flight.

“Never in the history of this nation or indeed anywhere else in Africa that I can recall, has a state government gone into airline operations.

“Akwa Ibom state is, therefore, the first to achieve this, and we should all collectively give ourselves a pat on the back.”

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