The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur, says that Air Peace has been approved by the Nigerian Government for direct flights to India under the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed in January.
Thakur who said this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, added that the airline was approved at the signing of the agreement.
When BASA is concluded between two contracting countries, it liberalises commercial civil aviation services between those countries.
Such agreements allow the designated airlines of the two contracting countries to operate commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and cargoes between the countries.
“We had the bilateral air services agreement that was signed in January, we already have the approvals accorded to Air Peace by the government of Nigeria and the approvals by the government of India are currently in the process and we hope we can start direct flights sooner than later.
“We have the approval that has been accorded to Air Peace for two flights to Mumbai every week and we hope to move forward on this front hopefully in 2019 itself.
“This is one of the targets we are working towards and subject to all necessary approvals, we should be able to move forward on this front.”
“We are open to any kind of arrangement; we will be open to all possibilities.”
The envoy stressed that the agreement was coming at a time when India was set to further uplift and take forward its cooperation with Africa and Nigeria in particular.
“I would say we are already late, direct flights are overdue. India is the second largest country in the world and Nigeria is the largest economy and largest country in Africa.
“There is no reason why our people should not be traveling, meeting more frequently,” he said.
India is said to be Nigeria’s largest trading partner globally with bilateral trade between both countries at nearly $12 billion and Indian companies investing in projects worth $10 billion.