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FG signs air agreement with India

The Federal Government has signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with India, according to the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

The BASA which was signed in India during the Minister’s official visit would enable the two countries operate direct flights.

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Sirika announced the signing of the new BASA in a post on his twitter handle @hadisirika showing a picture of himself and Indian civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu.

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur had during an event to commemorate the World Hindi Day and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Abuja last week said the BASA would create opportunity for direct flights between Nigeria and India.

“A look at the air transportation services indicates that there are about four indirect flights between India and Nigeria daily, via Dubai, Ethiopia. So, there is a huge opportunity herein and it is something that needs to be addressed urgently”, he said.

With the new BASA, the number of BASAs Nigeria has with other countries for purpose of flight operations rose to 92.

However, Daily Trust findings show that only 28 of those BASAs are active more so that no Nigerian carriers are currently taking part in the frequencies.

Despite this, there are indications that more BASAs would be signed this year as further disclosed by Sirika recently.

Also, our correspondent learnt that there are provisions in the 2019 budget for BASA and multilateral air services agreement (MASA) with over 10 countries.

Checks in the 2019 budget indicate that there were separate provisions of N31m, N18m and N45m for BASA and MASA with Ethiopia, Morocco, Lebanon, United Arab Emirate, China, Namibia, France, Netherland, Switzerland, Portugal and others.

Experts have advocated for restraint in signing air service agreements when Nigerian carriers are unable to fly to any of those countries flying into multiple destinations in Nigeria.

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