Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Nigeria, Kuwait, Iran Activate BASA, Expand Aviation Cooperation

BASA Signing
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, signing of BASA with the State of Kuwait at Saudi Arabia.

In a significant move to strengthen trade, tourism and economic ties, Nigeria have inked a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Kuwait.

This instrument, signed during the International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) event of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, aims to facilitate direct flights between both nations, both passenger and cargo.

The signing ceremony, led by Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Space Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, was a pivotal step towards fostering economic cooperation as outlined in the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of the current administration under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

In his statement, Keyamo highlighted the aviation sector’s pivotal role in achieving the ambitious agenda of lifting over 50 million Nigerians out of poverty. He urged stakeholders in the aviation sector of both countries to seize the opportunities arising from the BASA for maximum mutual benefits.

The acting director-general of Civil Aviation of the State of Kuwait, Engr. Emad Faleh Al-Jelwi shared his optimism about the strengthened relationship between Kuwait and Nigeria in various sectors, including trade, commerce, tourism, education and socio-economic development. He emphasised the potential benefits that would accrue to both nations and expressed confidence that Nigeria, as the most populous and prosperous African nation, would serve as a valuable gateway to the continent for Kuwait. Al-Jelwi encouraged both countries to capitalise on the opportunities created by the signed BASA.

In a parallel effort to broaden aviation cooperation, Keyamo engaged in bilateral talks regarding the commencement of flight operations for passengers and cargo between Nigeria and Iran. The discussions were held with the aeronautical authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by the president of Iran Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Mohammadi Bakhsh.

Keyamo acknowledged the historical ties between Iran and Nigeria and emphasised the need to overcome any international political barriers to foster a harmonious relationship. He assured the Iranian authorities of collaborative efforts across government agencies to initiate flight operations between the two nations.

Bakhsh referred to the exchange of BASA texts between Iran and Nigeria in Tehran in 2021 and urged for the operationalisation of the agreement. He informed the minister about Tehran’s designation of Mahan Air for the Tehran-Lagos route and requested Abuja to reciprocate by designating its own carrier for the route. Bakhsh highlighted the potential benefits of direct air service between the two countries, citing Iran’s achievements in civil aviation despite international sanctions. He identified Nigeria as a potential hub for cargo operations, facilitating the transportation of goods from Tehran to Africa.

These developments underscore Nigeria’s commitment to expanding its international aviation network, fostering economic partnerships, and realising the objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

Oluchi Okorafor
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