The recent negotiations on the liberalization of air services is one
of the highlights achieved by the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National
Commission (BNC), Deputy President Baleka Mbete said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the presidential guest house in Pretoria after hosting
Nigerian Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, Baleka said the bilateral
air services agreement would see an increase in the frequencies of
flights and open up new routes between the countries.
"These are some of the issues to which we are referring when we say
there has been progress," said Mbete.
Fleshing out the agreement, Jonathan said South African Airways
could now fly not only to Lagos but also the country's seat of
"This is a very significant development," said Jonathan.
He said at the moment SAA could only fly into Lagos, four flights a
With the new agreement, SAA and any other airline could fly into
Lagos and Abuja 10 times a week.
Two Nigerian airlines would also fly to South Africa and land in
either Johannesburg or Cape Town.
Baleka said other agreements and issues of co-operation where in the
pipeline however it was question of tightening up and implementation.
"... Sometimes you can have engagements where there are discussions
and no action to ensure that some of the things which have been under
discussion between the two countries to be implemented."
She said the BNC had agreed on a review council to help assess
progress made and it had been decided that permanent secretariat be put
The countries had not discussed who would fund this position or
where the secretariat would be based.
A preparatory committee that would help the countries prepare for
the 10th anniversary since the inception of the BNC would also be
The celebration would be held in October 2009 but the parties had
undertaken to review the BNC progress in Nigeria in March next year.