Nigeria's Cross River state government says its dormant virtual carrier Cally Air (Calabar) will resume operations at Calabar airport to cater for an expected surge in passenger demand over the upcoming Calabar Festival period. According to the News Nigeria outlet, Cross River's commissioner for aviation, Eno Utum Inah, said flights would restart on November 30.

The airline, a joint venture between the state government and Aero Contractors (N2, Lagos) (also the operator), lost the municipality's support earlier this year amid a dispute regarding the attachment of a B737-300 over NGN900 million naira (USD1.2 million) in outstanding service fees.

In the interim, Aero Contractors has continued to use aircraft bearing Cally Air's livery on its own services. Aero Contractors is a general aviation operator with fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and MRO businesses. Earlier this month, a Cally Air liveried B737-300 skidded off the runway after landing at Abuja. That particular aircraft, 5N-BYQ (msn 30334), is one of two -300s operated by Aero on Cally Air services.

ch-aviation has contacted Aero Contractors for comment.

The commissioner also said that one of the reasons for resuming Cally Air flights was to fill a sudden capacity vacuum caused by the reported suspension of flights by Ibom Air (QI, Uyo). However, Ibom has denied it has suspended its operations, describing speculation to the contrary as an "underhanded business strategy."