Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian has said that the much anticipated direct flights from Nigeria to India is set to commence on March 31. Balasubramanian told newsmen in Abuja that Air Peace, a private Nigerian airline had concluded plans for the inaugural flight from Lagos to Mumbai, Bombay. Meanwhile Israel’s transport minister on Sunday approved an aviation deal with Nigeria that will allow non-stop flights between the countries to begin next month for the first time, the ministry said. The agreement, which still needs cabinet approval in Israel, will let carriers from the two countries to operate flights between Tel Aviv and cities in Nigeria, like Lagos and Abuja. It will facilitate a smoother pilgrimage for Christians to the Holy Land, the ministry said. The trip currently requires a stopover, usually in Turkey or Ethiopia.
”I can announce to you that that Air Peace will be flying directly from Lagos to India on March 31st for the inaugural flight. This is part of the implementation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) aimed at deepening relations between both countries, so I have been invited for the inauguration, ” he said. Balasubramanian also said that the direct flight would further strengthen economic, trade, bilateral relations, and people-to-people ties between both strategic countries. “The volume of trade between both countries as at 2022 is 14.95 billion dollars, so we believe agreements such as this will go a long way in boosting our relations,” he said. He expressed optimism that the new route would increase the volume of trade between both countries, while opening new vista of opportunities for citizens of both countries.
Nigeria and the Republic of India had in 2019 signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), to deepen flight operations end to end. Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had expressed optimism that the agreement would further deepen cooperation between both countries. BASA covers the basic framework under which airlines are granted bilateral rights to fly two countries. The frequency, designated airlines of the signatories, origin, intermediate points as well as traffic rights, type of aircraft and tax issues are normally covered by Memoranda of Understanding. The new route is expected to further boost relations between both countries, as more than 135 Indian companies currently operate in Nigeria. India is becoming the prime destination for Nigerians seeking medical tourism, studies, businesses among others.