Nigeria is in the final stages of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Algeria to establish a direct flight route between the two countries, with a focus on enhancing global connectivity.
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) made this announcement during a meeting with a delegation from Algeria, led by the Algerian Ambassador to Nigeria, in his office.
Keyamo highlighted the long-standing Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Algeria but noted that the agreement had not been fully utilised. The existing BASA primarily specified routes between Algiers and Lagos. However, recent efforts from the Algerian delegation sought to reopen the Algiers-Lagos route and expand the agreement to include Abuja. In return, Algeria would add the city of Oran to the route, promoting reciprocity between the two nations.
The minister emphasised the Nigerian government’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of local airline operators and promoting their businesses. He expressed satisfaction with Algeria’s willingness to accommodate reciprocity for Nigerian operators.
While expressing the government’s willingness to review the MoU, Keyamo stated that there were no serious objections to its provisions. However, the standard bureaucratic processes would need to be followed before reaching a formal agreement. He anticipated a signing ceremony, either in Nigeria or at an international forum, to mark the occasion.
Keyamo also stressed the importance of healthy competition in the airline industry, which would ultimately lead to lower airfares, benefiting the Nigerian public. He described the relationship between Nigeria and Algeria as symbiotic, highlighting the mutual benefits that direct flights would offer both countries.
The Ambassador of Algeria, His Excellency, Mr. Hocine Latli, who led the delegation, emphasised the necessity of a direct flight between the two nations to strengthen their partnership. He expressed optimism about resolving the issue of direct flights and revitalising the dynamic partnership and cooperation between Nigeria and Algeria in the coming months.
In a separate development, Keyamo received recognition as a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). The president of the institute, Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro and other members of the institution extended the honour to the minister. Keyamo was also invited to participate in the institute’s conference scheduled for this month.
In response, Keyamo expressed his admiration for CILT and the potential for partnership between the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development and the institute, to contribute to safety and infrastructure development.