Keyamo Engages With Qatari, Saudi Transport Ministers @ Future Aviation Forum

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Aviation Saudi Arabia
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, and the Minister of Transport and Logistics of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Saleh Al-Jasser

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, met separately with the Minister of Transport of the State of Qatar, His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti and the Minister of Transport and Logistics of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Saleh Al-Jasser, to discuss strengthening relationships with Nigeria in the areas of air transportation and logistics.

The meeting, initiated by the Middle Eastern ministers, took place at the third Future Aviation Forum aimed at elevating global connectivity and enhancing aviation collaboration,held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Keyamo emphasised Nigeria’s interest in learning from Qatar’s successful airline operations, particularly Qatar Airways, which has become a globally recognised brand. He requested that Qatar Airways patronise local catering services on return trips from Nigeria to Doha. This, he explained, would support the local economy in accordance with the signed Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and the principle of reciprocity.

Additionally, Keyamo invited Qatari aviation companies to participate in Nigeria’s first international airshow in Lagos in February 2025. Al-Sulaiti expressed interest in partnering with Nigeria to maximise the benefits of the existing BASA between the two countries. He acknowledged Nigeria’s significance in Africa, citing its vast potential and invited Keyamo to Doha for further bilateral discussions.

Al-Sulaiti affirmed Qatar Airways’ commitment to patronising local catering services in Nigeria, contributing to the country’s GDP. He also pledged to mobilise support for the Lagos International Airshow by encouraging participation from Qatari aviation companies.

In a similar vein, Keyamo thanked Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, His Excellency Saleh Al-Jasser for his interest in developing cargo operations between the two countries. Keyamo highlighted Nigeria’s seven dedicated cargo airports capable of supporting cargo operations. He addressed concerns about funds being trapped in Nigeria, assuring that the country has improved in terms of forex liquidity due to policies implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

The Nigerian minister commended Saudi Arabia’s advancements in civil aviation, expressing Nigeria’s interest in benefiting from their expertise in airport design and the establishment of a leasing company. Regarding issues encountered during the recent Hajj exercise, Keyamo promised to take necessary actions to prevent future occurrences by ensuring the responsible government agencies take appropriate measures.

Al-Jasser discussed the need to revive cargo flight operations between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, noting that past operations were disrupted due to difficulties in repatriating funds from Nigeria. He expressed optimism that the current leadership in Nigeria would facilitate a positive change. Al-Jasser highlighted that Saudi Arabia conducts fifteen cargo flights to China, suggesting that Nigeria could leverage this route for freighting goods.

Furthermore, Al-Jasser elaborated on Saudi Arabia’s aviation growth, aligned with the country’s visionary leadership. He assured that their progress serves as an inspiration and promised to share Saudi Arabia’s experiences with Nigeria.

The ministers also discussed the airlift of Nigerian pilgrims to the Mecca. Al-Jasser acknowledged improvements from Nigeria but pointed out issues related to late departures, often caused by delays in the payment of basic travel allowance (BTA) to pilgrims and access to aviation fuel.

Overall, the meetings at the Future Aviation Forum underscored the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange between Nigeria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These discussions are expected to pave the way for enhanced air transportation, logistics and broader economic ties among the countries.

Oluchi Okorafor
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