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FG signs Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Israel

By on October 22, 2013

The Federal Government has announced its preparedness to sign the first-ever Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Israel.

It stated that previous attempts to sign the BASA in 2005 and 2012 were unsuccessful.

The Federal Ministry of Aviation, in a statement on Sunday, said the agreement, which is expected to be signed this week during President Goodluck Jonathan’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was a culmination of months of rigorous negotiations between the two countries.

The statement, which was signed by the Special Assistant to the Minster of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, said the agreement would pave the way for direct flights between both territories on the principle of reciprocity by the designated airlines of both countries.

It said, “Before now, Nigerians travelling to Israel, including Christian pilgrims, have had to endure the long-winding stopovers in neighbouring countries before being finally airlifted to the Holy Land.”

According to the ministry, the agreement will address the question of imbalance in the BASA between Nigeria and other contracting countries.

It noted that under the terms of the agreement, Nigeria  and Israel would enjoy equal rights and privileges in the implementation of the BASA.

The statement said, “Nigerians had been outraged that past BASAs were heavily skewed against the interest of Nigerian airlines, a scenario which the present Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah, vowed to redress. This agreement is a manifestation of that solemn pledge.”