The number of international carriers operating into Nigeria is set to increase by one, as Niger Republic national carrier; Air Niamey has concluded plans to begin air services to the country. A source close to the Ministry of Transport told our correspondent that officials from the ministry, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), (legal department and a director from the agency) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) were in Niamey recently to perfect the papers that would enable the airline operates into Nigeria. Nigeria and Niger Republic had in 2012 signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA, which would allow carriers from the two countries fly directly into each other’s territory, but since the signing of the agreement, no airline from the two countries operates direct flight into each other.
Also, apart from the flight agreement between the two nations, Nigeria and Niger Republic also entered into agreement on maritime, agriculture and rail line services. With the agreements, there would be exchange of expertise between the two countries while both governments are looking at the possibility of operating rail line services into each other’s countries as is the practice in Europe and America. On the BASA agreement, it was learnt that Overland Airways had been designated to fly the Nigerian flag on the route with three flights a week with the possibility of increasing it to daily in the future. The source said, “Our officials were in Niger Republic for the most days of last week to perfect the papers that will enable direct flight link between Nigeria and Niger Republic. We’ve already signed a BASA agreement with them in 2012, but we only sent our officials there to perfect th epapers so that they can begin operations.
He specifically said that BASA arrangement didn’t mean the airline would commence flight operations immediately, saying that its officials would still carry out lots of ground work on their airline before the commencement of operations.