The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf has criticized the decision of Akwa Ibom State government to float an airline, Ibom Air.

The airline was launched on Wednesday, February 20th with two aircraft in its fleet. A third aircraft is being expected within the year.

At the commissioning, the state governor, Udom Emmanuel said: “We are running Ibom Air as a business, paying particular attention to Akwa Ibom people.”

"Ibom airline will operate routes that will give preference to Akwa Ibom people," he added.

But speaking to Bounce News on Thursday on the sidelines of a breakfast session organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce in Lagos, the LCCI boss said it was a wrong decision for the government to have plunged into starting an air carrier.

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“It is not a smart move. What the government should have done would have been to encourage those who are in the airline business to create a route for Akwa Ibom, not for Akwa Ibom state government to go and float an airline,” he said.

“This is a political season, maybe that’s one of those things you need to do, or the government wants to do to impress the people. Such arrangements are typically not sustainable. So, you now must create a ministry for the airline, create all sorts of agencies, it cannot work. It can’t go far.

“My expectation or advice will be that maybe after the elections, they should just work out something with one of the airlines, and then the airline manages the business.

“If the route is not profitable, they can see how they can augment by giving incentives to the airline to continue to fly the routes,” he added.

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