The Federal Government has signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the United Arab Emirates’ government.
It also announced that an indigenous carrier had been cleared and had commenced operations from Nigeria to Dubai, a development which industry experts attributed to the latest agreement.
The agreement between Nigeria and UAE was signed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, signing on behalf of the Federal Government.
Sirika announced the agreement signing and the commencement of flight operations by a Nigerian carrier on the Dubai route in separate tweets posted on his Twitter page on Friday.
The minister, who also posted a photograph of himself and an official of the UAE government during the BASA signing ceremony in Colombo, said, “Signed Bilateral Air Service Agreement with (the) UAE 30 minutes ago in Colombo, Sri Lanka. May it be of mutual benefits.”
Earlier this year, the Federal Government had explained that every Nigerian airline could benefit from the BASAs being signed with other countries.
According to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the bilateral agreements will help private airlines fly to countries that Nigeria has signed BASA with without restriction.
He stated that bilateral service did not imply that Nigeria must have a national carrier and then the airline would travel to the partner countries.
Amaechi explained that the BASA would enable Nigerian private investors to go into business in areas that the country had signed the agreements with.
On the Nigerian carrier that had been cleared to operate on the Dubai route, Sirika, in another Twitter message, said, “Glad to announce the commencement of Dubai route by our own Med-View Airlines. Congratulations Med-View!”
Sirika, while responding to enquiries from his Twitter followers, also stated that the Federal Government was working hard to ensure the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria, adding that the airline would soon come into existence.
On Tuesday, The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the Federal Government had commenced discussions with the government of the United Kingdom on infrastructural support for aviation security and the return of Arik Air to the London route, as well government’s resolve to fulfil its campaign promise of establishing a national carrier that would be private sector driven.
Responding to a question on the establishment of the national carrier, Sirika stated, “We are on course. It is a campaign promise that must be achieved. Please be patient. Nothing good comes easy.”
The minister has often stated that the government will provide a national carrier that will fill the gaps in the country’s aviation sector, as he noted that with the absence of Nigerian Airways, not many airlines had grown in capacity to serve passengers well and compete favourably.