The inaugural flight of Turkish Airlines from Mallam Aminu Kano Internatioal Airport, Kano recently marked the beginning of major international operations from the nation’s oldest aviation city, signposting a potential bust of business activities in the region.
Before the maiden flight, the government of Kano state had become restive over not having international flight services from the renowned city. However, it was obvious that the airlines designated by the Ministry of Aviation were studying the market.
The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah expressed joy at the Turkish operation to Kano as it became the result of the numerous efforts the ministry made for well-known airline to operate from Kano.
The minister, who was represented by the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Usman Muktar, described the commencement of Turkish Airlines’ flight at the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport as another milestone in President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in the aviation industry.
The minister said with this development, travellers especially businessmen and women from the North would now be saved the stress of first travelling to Lagos or Abuja before boarding an international flight to any part of the world.
Earlier, Governor Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state had received the Vice President of Turkish Airlines, who was on board the inaugural flight when it arrived from Istanbul.
Kwankwaso described the designation of Turkish Airlines to Kano as the strengthening of an existing relationship between Turkey and Kano State.
"I believe the coming of Turkish Airlines will go a long way in strengthening the relationship that has been existing between us for very long time. It is truly exciting to see that my people will no longer travel to Abuja and Lagos to board a flight to Istanbul which will also connect them to both Europe and Asia. Turkey is a country which seat in between Europe and Asia,” the governor said.
He assured the government of Turkey and the management of Turkish Airlines that Kano state government will continue to support the airline and all the bilateral relationship between Kano and Turkey as much as we can so that our relationship will continue to grow," Kwankwaso said.
He noted that becasue of the long standing relationship, "when we were sending 501 students last year to 11 countries, we deliberately decided to make Turkey one of the 11 countries. Right now we have 125 young men and women of Kano State origin studying Postgraduate courses in Turkey.”
According to him, when they were sending these students, the state had to go through other countries.
“ But now that we have Turkish Airlines we can go direct from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to these places. Thank you very much for meeting our transportation challenges," he said.
The General Manager, Turkish Airlines, Kano, Mr Ahmet Can Akbuga said, "It is a dream fulfilled commencing flight between Istanbul, Turkey and Kano, Nigeria. We thank the Governor for standing by us and the Minister of Aviation for her tireless effort."