The Igbo man is renowned for his spirit of industry. He has an undying entrepreneurship and industry spirit. The Igbo man is said to be instrumental to development of many cities in Nigeria.
Patriots see the Igbo man as the most ardent believer in Nigeria, as he feels at home to invest in any part of the country he finds himself, unlike people of other races who find it difficult to do so, probably having in mind that the country is not one and that their investments are not secured in some parts of the country.
Notwithstanding that the Igbo man is clearly not given equal opportunities with his peers from other parts of the country, his undying spirit of industry and entrepreneurship have kept him competing favourably with people from other parts of the country.
Apart from other sectors where the Igbo man is doing pretty well, especially in the area of industry and manufacturing, the Igbo man has recently taken aviation industry by storm.
First was Chief Allen Onyema whose Air Peace airline is doing favourably well, another Igbo man, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo has recently taken the aviation industry by storm with the coming onboard of the United Nigerian Airline.
United Nigeria Airline is a charter carrier based at Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu. The airline commenced commercial operations on 12-Feb-2021. United Nigeria intends to operate daily Lagos-Abuja, Lagos-Asaba, Lagos-Enugu, Abuja-Asaba and Abuja-Enugu services with Embraer ERJ145 aircraft.
This is coming at a very critical and difficult economic period when investors all over the world are contending with the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic that ravaged the world. With the coming onboard of the airline, Dr. Okonkwo is no doubt lifting economic burden off the shoulders of many who will secure employment with the airline.
Dr. Obiora F. Okonkwo is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of N-Glory Development Limited, the owners and managers of The Dome Entertainment and Event Centre in Abuja Nigeria. He is also the Chairman of Solicom Engineering, Gistme Communications, Sagemetrics, and CareerNation. Through these companies, Dr. Okonkwo employs over 300 staff across the African continent and the United States of America.
Part of his academic accomplishments include; Doctor of Philosophy & Political Science from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow, Russia 1994 – 1998.
Bachelor of Science Degree from Russian Peoples’ Friendship University where he graduated with First Class Honors in economics 1989 – 1993
Nwankwo in a recent media chat, said the investment was to fill industry gap and unite Nigeria, explaining that the choice of Enugu hub was strategic for the airlines’ mission.
He said: “Our short-term goal is to consolidate. You can see we have a base in Enugu and we have to consolidate, establish all our routes and then work on expansion. We want to expand beyond Nigeria, starting from the West Coast, just for a start. We have a big plan. “The market is huge; there is need for a lot of aircraft. We have full load in all the routes we operate every day.
“I guess those who are in the business should be competing with us first. We should be the people they should be worried about, because we are new. We think that within the next three months, we shall be able to expand our routes.”
Akanu Ibiam International Airport Manager, Cecilia Oguama, noted that Enugu was the right route to launch into the market, given the traffic increase now recorded.
“The traffic in and out of the airport has increased tremendously. We are now having between 6,000 and 7,000 passengers weekly. Before COVID-19, we had less than 1,000 passenger traffic, because we had only one airline then. In 2019, we only had Air Peace operating, but now, we have four others operating regularly, including United Airline.
“We have close to eight flights daily and United Airline has made Enugu their base, so they would enjoy tremendous support from the airport.
Meanwhile Anambra State Government has expressed excitement over the recent launch of United Nigeria Airlines by one of its indigenes, Dr. Obiora Nwankwo.
The state government while commending the founder on the feat, described him as a worthy son of the state, adding that only a courageous and audacious entrepreneur can launch an airline anywhere in the world today, in view of the state of the industry worldwide as occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement by the state commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. Don Adinuba stated that Nwankwo deserves commendation for the bold move, while calling on him to consider making Anambra headquarters of the airline, as the state prepares to launch the Anambra International Cargo Airport.
Adinuba in the release said, “He (Nwankwo) is following with the footsteps of another great ambassador of Anambra State, Chief Allen Onyema, chairman Air Peace Airlines, who is increasing his fleet from 27 to 40 aircrafts, despite the current turbulent state of the global airline business.
“We are confident that United Nigeria Airlines will take the aviation industry by storm, as Air Peace has done since 2013, especially with regard to the safety record, schedule integrity and quality ground and in-flight services.”
The release further disclosed that, “The government and people of Anambra State are happy that both United Nigeria and Air Peace are committed to the right values. While Air Peace is irrevocably committed to peace in Nigeria and elsewhere, United Nigeria Airlines is unabashedly dedicated to Nigeria’s unity and integration.
“Nigeria needs peace and unity more than other things at this point in its history. Without peace and unity, no nation can achieve progress.
He disclosed that Chief Onyema of Air Peace has pledged to build a hanger at Anambra International Cargo Airport still under construction. He posited that the hanger will cause a lot of local and international carriers to bring their equipment to the airport for maintenance and repairs.
“We are calling on Dr. Okonkwo to consider making Anambra Airport the headquarters of his United Nigeria Airlines operations,” the commissioner pleaded.