The Bayelsa State Government has finally opened up on the real status of the state-owned international airport, following insinuations that the facility has been downgraded and abandoned by the government.
The government claimed the absence of scheduled flights to and from the Bayelsa International Airport for a couple of weeks now was not the fault of the state government but has to do with some technical issues with two airline operators.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the clarification on Wednesday when the leadership of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, paid him a courtesy call in Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo explained that two airlines, Ibom-Air and United Nigeria Airlines, were carrying out what he called D-Check on their aircraft, which had also affected their flight operations from their primary routes.
The Deputy Governor said the D-Check is a major maintenance check to determine the airworthiness of an aircraft after it had made commercial flights for 10 years.
He pointed out that the state government was in touch with the management teams of both airlines, giving the assurance that normal flight operations would resume at the airport before the end of the month.
His words: “I can assure you that the Governor Diri-led Administration is very much on course. I know that you are going to ask us what is happening at the Bayelsa International Airport.
“There are a few issues, but they are not really our issues as a government per se. We are aware some people are pushing the news that the airport has been downgraded. That is not true. The Bayelsa Airport has not been downgraded.
“What happened is that the two airlines working with us have gone for D-Check. The D-Check means a plane going for a major maintenance check after it had been put to flight operations for 10 years to determine its airworthiness.
“If you watch very well, even flights in their regular or primary routes, like the Port Harcourt to Abuja route, have now been reduced to only one daily flight.”
Earlier in his remarks, the state Chairman of the Federated Correspondents Chapel, NUJ, Mr. Tife Owolabi, said the visit was meant to formally introduce the newly elected executive members of the Chapel to the Deputy Governor.