Keyamo meets with his counterparts from the Republic of Seychelles and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The ongoing 15th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation (ICAN2023) holding in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has provided countries and participants with a forum to learn about current industry trends and issues, and exchange experiences, in addition to negotiation of agreements with respect to air services on direct flight connectivity between countries for the purpose of promoting commerce, trade and tourism.
The Honourable Minister with the President of the General Civil Aviation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Duailj
In order to deepen the implementation of the subsisting Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Repubic of Seychelles, the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, CON, SAN, FCIArb (UK) met with his counterpart, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, the Minister of Transport of Republic of Seychelles.
The meeting at the instance of Seychelles discussed on how to further accelerate direct air connectivity between the two countries. Mr. Derjacques who noted that the subsisting BASA between the two countries, signed at the 2022 ICAN meeting which held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 5th-9th December, 2022 had not been made operational.
The Honourable Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo with Mr. Anthony Derjacques, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Seychelles
In order to ensure its operationalization, he informed his Nigerian counterpart that the signed BASA instrument had been deposited with the parliament of Seychelles for ratification.
He, therefore, stated that nothing should stop the commencement of direct flight between Seychelles and Nigeria, either through chartered flight or scheduled operations.
He further informed that his country had put in place a robust system that would ensure that those with genuine intentions were allowed into the country known for tourism and her aquatic splendour.
Reacting, Mr. Keyamo applauded Mr. Derjacques for initiating the meeting and promised to fast track the implementation of the signed BASA to promote trade and tourism between the two African nations.
He equally informed the Seychelles Minister of Transport that the Government of Nigeria had taken the necessary step towards the ratification of the BASA as the Ministry of Justice of Nigeria had commenced the process of its ratification.
Continuing, he stated that he would liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the he Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure adequate profiling were done on those who had the intention of visiting Seychelles from Nigeria to prevent those with bad intentions from entering the Island country.
The two countries appointed Focal Officers that would drive the implementation of the decisions reached at the meeting.
In a similar vein, Mr. Keyamo met with the President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Duailj.
The meeting which had officials of the Aeronautical Authorities of both countries in attendance, including representatives of airlines from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia discussed critical issues with respect to the performance of Nigerian Air Carriers during the 2023 Hajj operations; challenges of Hajj operations during the 2023 Hajj season;
outstanding of Nigerian Air carriers;
recommendations for 2024 Hajj season; and
the preparation for 2024 Hajj season.
The meeting discussed extensively on all the issues and resolved that concerted efforts be made by the Nigerian side to ensure flawless and seamless Hajj operations in the interest of the pilgrims.
Therefore, both teams approved the constitution of a standing committee with representatives from the two countries with the mandate to meet weekly to discuss on progress being made by Nigeria towards preparations for the pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Makkah and Medina.
The Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, thereafter, met with the officials of his Ministry, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Head of Chancery of the Embassy of Nigeria in Saudi Arabia, the Vice President of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Capt. Roland Iyayi and representatives of domestic carriers in Nigeria present in Riyadh-Air Peace, Arik Air and Max Air, for further strategic discussions on the issues discussed with the Saudi Arabian Authorities.
The Honourable Minister was emphatic in his desire to make the 2024 Hajj operations successful declaring that he could not afford to fail as the image of Nigeria was at stake.