Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday commenced flight operations to Kaduna with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which landed at the Kaduna International Airport from Addis Ababa at noon carrying 17 passengers on board.
The flight with registration number ET-9221, also departed for Addis Ababa at 1:30 p.m. with 10 officials of Kaduna State Government on board and other passengers.
Speaking before departure of the aircraft, Governor Nasir EI’ Rufai said Kaduna State had hitherto been disadvantaged in terms of access to the outside world.
The governor said the state had no access to the sea, as well as a lack of international flight into the state until the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was shut for rehabilitation of its runway in March.
“When the Abuja airport was closed, international airlines refused to come to Kaduna, we were also pushed not to come but we came.
“We have so much confidence in the government of Nigeria and that will not change.
“Today, Kaduna is the domestic route of 100 destinations. Also, effective today, Kaduna is connected to 55 African countries and this is what we mean by bringing Africa together and bringing Africa to the world.
“We are capable of bringing Africa together and that is why we are investing a lot in the industry.
We have the biggest maintenance Centre in Africa, five big hangers and the biggest catering services in Africa that can produce over 100 meals a day.
“We also have the largest fleet of 95 aircraft, the largest airline, most profitable and with the largest network in the world,” he said.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the government would support any airline that showed commitment to growing aviation business in the country.
Sirika, while commending the airline for accepting to commence full operation to Kaduna, said the government would provide an enabling environment for it to succeed.
He also commended the government of Kaduna State for its resilience toward developing and encouraging aviation business into the state.
According to him, the government is in a position to encourage any airline that has the where withal and the capacity to provide service.