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‘Abuja to Calabar for N17,000’ — Cross River’s Cally Air drives fresh competition in aviation sector

‘Abuja to Calabar for N17,000’ — Cross River’s Cally Air drives fresh competition in aviation sector
July 28
11:08 2021

The Cross River state government has launched its own airline, Cally Air, in a major drive to boost economic development in the state.

Ben Ayade, the state governor, flagged off the aviation project on Monday after Cally Air made its maiden flight into Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, from Lagos en route to Abuja.

Addressing journalists after the touchdown, Ayade described the development as a dream come true.

He said the project was necessitated by the monopolistic tendencies of airlines navigating the route which made it “imperative as a government, in spite of the fact that we are performing beyond our financial carrying capacity, to start up Cally Air. And that dream has become a reality today.”


“It was a dream we had in 2017, occasioned by the high influx of traffic into Calabar and the monopoly of some airlines dominating the Calabar route,” he said.

Ayade said Cally Air will be operated by Aero Contractors for a period of six months to allow the airline to obtain its air operator’s certificate (AOC).

An AOC is an approval granted by a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator for commercial purposes.


Ayade said the Aero Contractors does not own the aircraft, adding that the airline will be fully independent after obtaining its AOC.

“Aero contractors knows that this aircraft is given to them for six months in the first instance strictly because we do not have an AOC, which is the licence to run an airline business. We only have a licence for the aircraft,” he added.

“It takes six months for the licence to come and if we have to wait for the licence, 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. 

“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.


“So after the AOC, we can now commence a full direct independent airline. For those who imagine that aero has a hand in the procurement of this aircraft, it is absolutely false. No one, except Cross River citizens, own this aircraft.

“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.

“I don’t own it, aero contractors does 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 is reflected.”

Ayade urged residents of the state to patronise the airline while assuring them of safety and comfort.


He said the fare which starts from N17,000 is to help Cross Riverians reduce the cost of transportation, increase tourism and boost economic activities in the state.

“Cally Air is actually intended to serve Cross Riverians. It is for you Cross Riverians. The decision by the airline to ply this route is to serve the people. Your fare which starts from N17,000 is intended to support Cross Riverians. So you must make Cally Air your choice airline. Cally Air will provide you with the sufficiency of comfort as well as safety,” he said.


“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.

“As Cally Air begins to prosper, you are going to see more aircrafts being procured by Cross River State Ministry of Aviation and as I said, this is a property of Cross River State Government by extension the citizens of Cross River.”


In May, Green Africa Airways, a Nigerian start-up carrier, had also launched operations into the Nigerian aviation sector with low airfare compared to industry prices.


  1. OKOI Ekpe
    OKOI Ekpe July 28, 15:50

    Good one from the people’s GOVERNOR. Kudos!
    God is with Cross River.
    Ayade is the best solution for our dear country come 2023. A state crippled by loan servicing can only attain this feat through a man like Ayade of Africa. Ayade will do more with sufficient financial availability. Please having achieved this now bring back our oil wells and if possible our Bakassi peninsula.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Matoz
    Matoz July 29, 12:12

    Wow this is amazing shout out to Gov Ben ayade this us really good to hear

    Reply to this comment
  3. Dan
    Dan July 30, 11:15

    Can’t find their official website

    Reply to this comment

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