The federal government is set to finalize arrangements to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with Algeria for a direct flight route between the two countries in a few months to come.
Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo stated this when he received a delegation from Algeria led by the Algerian ambassador to Nigeria in his office.
According to the ministry’s head of press, Odutayo Oluseyi, Keyamo said “Although Nigeria has always had a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Algeria (BASA), for decades, we haven’t been taking advantage of the agreement. That agreement actually specifies the routes between Algiers and Lagos.”
He explained that the Algeria delegation in the past weeks reached out to Nigeria for the reopening of the route between Algiers and Lagos to revive the BASA that hasn’t been taken advantage of over the years.
“Today they are here with a memorandum of understanding specifying, although in the spirit of opening up the sky in Africa, they want to add Abuja to their route and also give us the second largest city in Algeria in place of reciprocity for us to fly with our local airline and that city is Oran,” he said.
He further stated “We have insisted that for those who come to us for such an agreement, as one of the focal points of this administration is to protect our Local airline operators; protect their business, and to promote their business. We raised the case of reciprocity for our local operators which they have gladly acceded to.
“As a government, we are going to quickly look at this MoU from the face of it we have no serious objection to it but we have a normal bureaucratic process that has to pass through as quickly as possible.
“We are going to fix a day either here in Nigeria or international forum for the signing. We are very happy to have Air Algeria back on the soil of Nigeria. We want competition, we want the price of air tickets to go down for the benefit of Nigeria. This is a symbiotic relationship; it is beneficial to Algeria and beneficial to Nigeria.”
The Algerian ambassador, Hocine Latli, while speaking, said “You can’t have a tied partnership if you do not have a direct flight between the two countries, saying today we are trying to solve this problem of direct flight and restart the dynamic partnership and cooperation between the two countries, especially in the next few months.
“So, it is important today that we have reached a common point that the Hon. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace has accepted the opening of direct flight from Algiers to Nigeria”.