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The Cross River State Government has launched its airline, Cally Air, as part of efforts to boost economic activities in the state and across the country.

Governor Ben Ayade on Monday welcomed the maiden flight of the airline into Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, the state capital.

Addressing journalists after the reception, he explained that it was a dream the government had in 2017, occasioned by the high influx of traffic into Calabar and the monopoly of some airlines dominating the Calabar route.

“Cally Air belongs to Cross River State. No loan, no facilities were obtained and it is one hundred percent property of the citizens of Cross River State,” he said.

“I don’t own it, aero contractors do not own it. No one has a percentage share. The recruitment was done by aero contractors, but we have a responsibility to ensure that the sensitivity and ethnic differences in Cross River are reflected.”

The airline comes with a fare of N17,000 for a trip from Abuja to Calabar, a relatively cheaper fare compared to the industry average fare of between N35,000 and N40,000.

Mr Ayade advised Cross Riverians to patronise the airline, noting that “Cally Air is actually intended to serve Cross Riverians. It is for you, Cross Riverians.”

The governor, who said the airline will make punctuality the soul of its business, also disclosed that “when we say Cally Air operates on the dot, we mean it will be prompt, it will be apt, it will be time conscious to ensure that Cross Riverians can go to Abuja, do their business and return the same day to save them the cost of hotel bills.”

He explained further: “Your money is there, my money is there, all of our taxes have come to the achievement of this. There is no bank loan and I am saying it on camera for emphasis, no bank here or abroad that will say Cross River borrowed 10kobo. There is no one that will say we borrowed one naira.

“It takes six months for the license to come and if we have to wait for the license, we will be losing money, so that is why we had to start early, using aero contractors with over 56 years of flying without any accident.

However, the governor said the state chose aero contractors to assist in the management of the airline.

“So on the basis of safety, we made a choice of aero contractors and against that background, we will continue with them until Cally Air has its full management team and a full AOC,” he said.

“So after the AOC, we can now commence a full direct independent airline.”

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