India, Nigeria hope to have direct flights

August 16th, 2012 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Abuja, Aug 16 (IANS) India is set to review the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with Nigeria so that airlines can operate non-stop flights to both countries.

Indian High Commissioner Mahesh Sachdev said direct flights were necessary as trade and investment between the two countries now stands at $26 billion.

“We are negotiating with Nigeria renewal of BASA. Ideally, it should be possible for us to use the opportunity to ensure direct flights, especially for medical tourists,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.

According to the envoy, the excellent relations between Nigeria and India were evident in the current volume of trade.

“The data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the first quarter of this year shows we have become the largest market in Nigeria, overtaking the US,” he added.

Sachdev said the current trade figure was in favour of Nigeria, with an annual gain of $12 billion. “Nigeria sells more than they buy from India.”

Saying India’s investment in Nigeria had doubled to $9 billion since 2009 in pharmaceuticals, transportation and IT, Sachdev explained that people-to-people contacts were rising.

Some 33,000 visas were issued to Nigerians in 2011.

In 2005, Bellview Airline launched a non-stop flight from Lagos to Mumbai, but the firm was grounded after one of its Abuja-bound flights crashed last year killing all 117 passengers and crew.

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