February 02, (THEWILL) – Uganda’s national carrier, Uganda Airlines, is scheduled to start direct flights between Nigeria and Uganda.
The company is a revival of the older Uganda Airlines, which operated from 1977 until 2001. The current carrier began flying in August 2019.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, gave the hint recently in Uganda, at the meeting with General Edward Katumba Kamala, the Ugandan Minister of Works and Transportation, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kampala.
The Nigeria’s delegation, comprising of officials from the Ministry of Aviation and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria, arrived in Uganda on Sunday, February 29, 2023, in preparation for various engagements with their counterparts in Uganda.
While in Uganda, the Nigeria’s delegation held meetings with the Management and Officials of the Ugandan Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda.
Speaking on the outcome of the meetings, Sirika said, “The meetings centred on how to conclude on all the administrative requirements needed for the commencement of scheduled direct flights between Nigeria and Uganda, by Uganda’s national carrier, the Uganda Airlines.”
Sirika said that one important area that should further enhance the diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Uganda is direct air connectivity, adding that the two countries realised the importance of direct air services between them when their Ministers responsible for Civil Aviation initialled a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) on 9th October, 2002 in Kampala, Uganda.
“This was further reviewed on 21st January, 2005 with certain provisions. It is a matter of concern that the subsisting BASA between both Countries is yet to be active as none of the designated airlines have commenced operations. However, Nigeria has taken further step by forwarding the initialled BASA to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for clearance, which had been reverted to the Ministry of Aviation, albeit, with few amendments to enable the Ministry seek Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s approval preparatory to signing of the BASA by Ministers of both Countries responsible for Civil Aviation.
“By the special grace of God, I will ensure the signing of the official BASA before leaving office at the end of May 2023”, the Minister assured.
He emphasised that it is in the best interest of all African States to embrace the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD). SAATM and YD aims at liberalising intra-African air transport services in terms of market access and seamless air connectivity within the 54 African Countries.
“Aviation has a huge market that should be explored by indigenous African Airlines, as no other Nations can develop the aviation sector for us, except we Africans. We need to do this in the interest of our over 1.37 billion people, which is 17.4% of the world’s population”, Sirika added.
Gen. Kamala, who was on hand to receive the delegation, appreciated Senator Sirika for his physical presence as, according to him, it would afford both Ministers to provide the necessary political leadership that would facilitate the implementation of the Agreements reached during the meeting.
The meeting focused on the review of the subsisting Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between both countries, which was signed in 2002 and reviewed in 2005.
It also focused on how to give the necessary administrative and technical support to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed during the last International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) Event, which held in Abuja, from 5th to 9th December, 2022.
Gen. Kamala, during the meeting, reiterated his Country’s quest for the operation of direct flight into Nigeria using its national carrier, the Uganda Airlines.
He also sought technical cooperation and collaboration between the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, and the East African Civil Aviation Academy (EACAA), located in Soroti, Ugandan. Equally, the Ugandan Aeronautical Authorities also solicited technical support from Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).