Nigeria To Review Air Pacts With 37 Countries

Nigeria's Ambitious Review of Air Pacts with 37 Countries to Boost Air Transportation

The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to review bilateral air service agreements with 37 African countries, all signatories to the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD), and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). These agreements aim to liberalize air transportation across the continent and enhance intra-African trade.

Bilateral air service agreements serve as the foundation for international air travel, determining the routes, frequencies, and capacities between countries. In the context of Nigeria’s review, the focus extends beyond the immediate bilateral relationships to the broader vision of facilitating seamless connectivity across Africa. The YD and SAATM aim to remove barriers, promoting fair competition and open skies for the benefit of all participating nations.

The Yamoussoukro Decision, adopted in 1999, strives to deregulate air services in Africa, allowing airlines to operate freely across borders. Building on this initiative, the SAATM was launched in 2018 to create a single unified air transport market on the continent. By reviewing air service agreements in line with these frameworks, Nigeria is actively participating in the broader continental effort to harmonize regulations and streamline air travel procedures.

The review of air service agreements signifies a commitment to liberalizing air transportation, a crucial step in fostering economic growth and regional integration. By opening up skies and encouraging healthy competition, African nations can expect increased connectivity, reduced airfares, and a more dynamic aviation landscape. This, in turn, has the potential to boost tourism, trade, and economic collaboration among the participating countries.

The Federal Government of Nigeria plans to review bilateral air service agreements with 37 African countries to boost intra-African trade
Minister Festus Keyamo emphasizes commitment to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and directs the alignment of agreements with SAATM principles

Speaking at the 24th anniversary event of YD Day in Abuja, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to SAATM, emphasizing the importance of air transport liberalization in boosting intra-African trade. He highlighted that while African airlines experienced a 34.7% surge in passenger traffic over the past year, the continent’s global passenger market share remained modest at 2.1%. SAATM, he noted, would contribute significantly to trade, tourism, and reducing the continent’s trade deficit.

As part of the commitment to SAATM, Keyamo directed the review of bilateral air services agreements (BASA) with African countries signatory to SAATM, aligning them with the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decision and principles of reciprocity.

Simultaneously, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest airline, has initiated transit flights from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, connecting various regional and international cities. The move aims to enhance connectivity between African countries and the rest of the world.

Nigeria’s decision to review air service agreements with 37 African countries is a testament to its commitment to transforming the aviation landscape on the continent. By aligning with the Yamoussoukro Decision and SAATM, Nigeria is taking a significant step towards realizing the vision of open skies, increased connectivity, and enhanced intra-African trade. As the review progresses, the world watches with anticipation, recognizing the potential for Nigeria to become a trailblazer in shaping the future of aviation in Africa.

In a related development, the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, emphasized that SAATM serves as a catalyst for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by facilitating the movement of people and goods across the continent.

The transit international flights introduced by Air Peace include routes from Accra to Mumbai and Jeddah, as well as from Dakar to Jeddah and Mumbai. Regional transit flights include routes from Accra to Freetown, Douala, Dakar, and Banjul, as well as Monrovia to Lome. The airline aims to create a Transit Hub at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

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