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‘Several air transport agreements, nothing to show for indigenous airlines’

For decades now, the Federal Government had been in the habit of rushing to seal Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with so many countries, but there had been nothing gainful from the pact to the indigenous airlines.
It is important to understand that the essence of BASA is for indigenous airlines to have a smooth access and business operations in nations where BASA deal had been sealed with the Federal Government.
However, in the last few years, there had not been any kind of success story from any of the Nigerian domestic airline as efforts they have made to explore the BASA in nations where the Government had such deals had continued to be futile.
The experience of the management of Air Peace in some neighbouring West and Central African countries are still fresh in the minds of industry stakeholders.
Pundits say it is not enough to seal and announce a BASA deal with any country, what is very pertinent is the ability of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation to internalize the BASA understanding in favour of indigenous carriers.
Experts say what happens is that after the BASA deal, the government goes to sleep leaving indigenous carriers to be facing torture and organized discouragements from countries whom Nigeria had signed BASA deal with.
Only recently, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed that the Federal Government and the government of Cape Verde have concluded an agreement on air services between both countries.
The minister said the move was in line with existing Bilateral Air Service Agreement between Nigeria and Cape Verde as well as the provisions of the Single African Air Transport Market, a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063 designed to create a single unified air transport market within the continent.
Sirika made the disclosure during the first International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Tourism Organisation Ministerial Conference on Tourism and Air Transport in Africa, held in Sal Island, Cabo Verde from March 27 to 29.
According to him, the agreement was for Cape Verde to begin flights to Nigeria and also build an embassy in Abuja.
He said, “We have just concluded a meeting with Cape Verde authority and they have signified interest to start flight operations into Nigeria. Cape Verde is willing to exercise their right in the Bilateral Air Service Agreement and hopefully to seek a Nigeria airline that will reciprocate through flight operation into Cape Verde.
“They will start operations into Nigeria very soon and we hope that Nigeria airlines will take the opportunity too, as they have already said they are looking forward to a Nigerian airline to partner with,” Sirika averred.