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Local operators okay air trade agreement with U.S., India, others

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Local operators have applauded the Federal Government for signing Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the United States of America (USA), India, Morocco and Rwanda.

The pact, The Guardian learnt, reviews the old agreements, to enable free movement of commercial flights and their reciprocity under a mutual agreement.

While the foreign airlines will operate into Nigeria, Nigerian Flag carrier, Air Peace, has been designated to reciprocate on both the American and Indian routes.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed the BASA agreements via twitter, stating: “I am glad to announce that Mr. President, on behalf of Nigeria, has signed the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco as well as Rwanda.”

Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said the signing of BASAs between Nigeria and the United States, India and Rwanda was yet another testimony of the commitment of this government to the growth of the domestic aviation industry.

“This couldn’t have happened at a better time than now that the domestic industry requires all the support to stay afloat. It is most commendable and I promise Mr. President that the gains thereof shall be fully harnessed. With this, the President has effectively pushed the ball in the court of domestic airline operators and I want to use this opportunity to call on my colleagues to rally to savour the full benefits of these agreements.

“I thank the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika for all the groundwork that culminated in the signing of these agreements. His determination to raise the local bar is palpable. I can say for sure that the era of lopsidedness against Nigeria in international aviation is over. What Mr. President has done is a call for local operators to build capacity and remain competitive in the global air space. This shall increase job opportunities and ancillary benefits to the domestic economy. I thank you Mr. President for this patriotic masterstroke,” Onyema said.

Nigeria has signed over 100 BASAs, though with less than 25 reciprocated.

The U.S. already has Delta Airlines operating in Nigeria. Another American carrier, United Airlines, has announced its return to Lagos route after voluntary exit in 2016.

The carrier lately said the high traffic route was part of the carrier’s network expansion, with direct flights between Nigeria and the United States beginning from June 2021.


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