Nigerian airlines can benefit from bilateral agreements, says Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that every Nigerian airline can benefit from the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) the country signs with others.

Amaechi said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

According to the minister, the bilateral agreements will help private airlines fly to the countries Nigeria has signed BASA with without restriction.

He said, “Bilateral service does not mean that Nigeria will have a national carrier and then the national carrier will go to Qatar or go to Paris. No.

“It means that if you decide to buy your own aircraft and do foreign trip to convey passengers to Qatar, you can benefit from the BASA agreement.

“The BASA becomes a service to you. It is just like we did for Arik to UK and we have done it for Medview.

“If by tomorrow you wake up and say you want to be flying into the Qatar airport and that you will be conveying passenger from Lagos, or Abuja, or Port Harcourt to Qatar, BASA serves that purpose.

“The BASA just enables our private investors to go into business in those areas that we have signed the agreement with.”

Amaechi said Nigeria had tried to meet the requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by providing infrastructure and addressing safety issues at its airports.

He said passing ICAO audit was an indication that the nation was meeting the safety and security standards set by the global aviation regulatory body.

The minister added that a beautiful airport in itself did not translate to a safe and secure airspace.

He said a safe Nigerian airspace remained the priority of the present administration.

According to him, private investors will be encouraged to invest in the nation’s aviation industry through provision of airport infrastructure to create an enabling environment for business to survive.

He said, “What Nigerians refer to as aviation is the terminal. Meanwhile the most important part of aviation is safety and we addressed safety immediately we came to office.

“The fact that we passed the ICAO requirement is an indication that we are meeting international standards in aviation.

“Most Nigerians don’t know that it is not the country that builds an airport; it is the economic realities.

“If the economic activity in Nigeria is so huge that everyday you wake up more and more aircrafts are coming and more and more people are coming, businessmen will just come and say, `can we build airports for you?”

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