“Group photograph of the officials at the meeting”
Uganda Airlines Commences Direct Flight to Nigeria on 15th August, 2023.
In an effort to actualize the implementation of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) on direct flight between Uganda and Nigeria, the Uganda Aeronautical Authorities met with its counterpart in Nigeria on Wednesday, 26th August, 2023.
The meeting was a follow-up to the earlier two meetings held in Kampala, Uganda in January and May 2023.
“From Left: Mr. Olaniyi Sarki, Director, Air Transport Regulations of NCAA; Mr. Hassan Ejibunu, Director, Air Transport Management, Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace; and Amb. Bolaji Akinyemi, Director, Economic, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs”
In his remarks at the meeting, the Director, Air Transport Management, Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace of Nigeria, Mr. Hassan Ejibunu, welcomed the delegation from Uganda and noted that the meeting was an opportunity to consumate the decisions taken at the earlier meetings in Uganda towards bringing to fruition, the direct flight between Nigeria and Uganda, as any identified bottlenecks would be resolved during the meeting.
He stated that the best opportunity available to African Nations to connect their peoples in the areas of trade, tourism and education was through air transportation.
He noted that Africans were one and no any other blocs of the World would develop Africa, except Africans themselves.
Ejibunu, therefore, urged collaboration between African States, as the continent was inhabited by 1.2 Billion people, thus making it the third most populous race in the World.
The Director eulogized the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, CON, for laying the foundation for the actualization of direct flight between the two Countries.
He also noted the dexterity and commitment of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Uganda, Amb. Ismael Alatise and the Uganda High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Nelson Ocheger towards actualizing the connectivity of both nations by Air. Equally commended was the President of the Nigerian-Uganda Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Chief Michael Awunor for mobilizing the business community in Nigeria to connect with likeminds in Uganda and for also being in the forefront to actualize the air connectivity of both countries in order to enhance commerce trade and tourism.
Speaking at the meeting, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Economic, Trade and Investment applauded the steps being taken to scale-up the decision on direct air link between Nigeria and Uganda.
He stated that the step was in line with the principle of Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement [AfCTA] to integrate Africa and Aviation was one of the key ways to achieve the integration agenda and defeat artificial boundaries created by the colonial rulers.
Amb. Bolaji equally informed the meeting that the decision fitted the Foreign Policy posture of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to make Africa as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
He urged the two Aeronautical Authorities to work in concert to ensure that the objective of the meeting was achieved.
In his remarks, the leader of the Uganda Delegation, Amb. Alfred Nnam who is the Deputy High Commissioner of Uganda to Nigeria underscored the importance of direct flight between Nigeria and Uganda as both nations were playing pivotal roles in the affairs of the continent.
He stated that the leaderships of both countries have the same worldviews and perspectives on how to integrate the vast population of Africa.
He pointed out that the Uganda leadership was solidly behind the principle of AfCTA and using the platform to defeat the artificial boundaries created in Africa by outsiders.
Amb. Alfred praised the leadership role being played by Nigeria to defend and promote African causes at international fora and arena.
He further informed that besides using the direct flight to integrate and connect peoples of both countries, Uganda was working to ensure that a permanent Nigeria-Uganda Permanent Commission was put in place to bring the population of both countries much closer.
The Uganda Delegation took the opportunity of the meeting to show a video clip to demonstrate the level of preparedness of the Uganda Airlines to commence flight operations on the Ugandan-Nigerian Route by 15th August, 2023.
The Nigerian Aeronautical Authorities were satisfied with the presentation and agreed that direct flight between Uganda and Nigeria could commence on August 15th as proposed.
Both sides further agreed to accelerate the fulfilment of few other conditions to be met by Uganda Airlines to make the date sacrosanct.
The meeting which was held at the Headquarters of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in Abuja had top government functionaries from both sides in attendance which included the Director of Air Transport Regulations of NCAA, Mr. Olaniyi Saruku; Director , Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Engr. Godwin Balang; and Capt. Spiff, General Manager, Licensing at NCAA.
From the Ugandan Side were Mrs.Olive Lumonya, Deputy General of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority; and Mr. Adedayo Olawuyi, Chief Commercial Officer of Uganda Airlines.