Uganda Seeks Nigeria’s Cooperation On Aviation Training, Ugandan Airlines Direct Flights
Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. Edward Katumba Wamala has sought technical cooperation and collaboration between the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, and the East African Civil Aviation Academy (EACAA), located in Soroti, Uganda while the Ugandan Aeronautical Authorities also solicits technical support from Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
This is according to a statement signed by James Odaudu, Special Assistant to Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs following a visit of Nigeria’s delegation to Uganda. While in Uganda, the Nigeria’s delegation has held meetings with the Management and Officials of the Ugandan Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda, focusing on how to conclude on all the administrative requirements needed for the commencement of scheduled direct flights between Nigeria and Uganda, by Ugandan’s national carrier, the Uganda Airlines.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation. Senator Hadi Sirika said in his speech at the meeting that “the two Countries realized the importance of direct air services between them when their Ministers responsible for Civil Aviation initialled a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) on 9th October, 2002 in Kampala, Uganda. This was further reviewed on 21st January, 2005 with certain provisions. It is a matter of concern that the subsisting BASA between both Countries is yet to be active as none of the designated airlines have commenced operations. However, Nigeria has taken further step by forwarding the initialled BASA to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for clearance, which had been reverted to the Ministry of Aviation, albeit, with few amendments to enable the Ministry seek Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s approval preparatory to signing of the BASA by Ministers of both Countries responsible for Civil Aviation. By the special grace of God, I will ensure the signing of the official BASA before leaving office at the end of May 2023.”
Sirika added that “the delegation from Nigeria has met with officials of Uganda Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda on how to facilitate the flight operations of Uganda Airlines into Nigeria. From the briefing received by me, there is positive development as all areas required to be sorted out would be addressed by the Nigeria Aeronautical Authorities within the possible shortest time.”.
Sirika also used the opportunity to amplify the importance of SAATM. “Let me at this juncture state here that aviation remains the best way for Africa to connect her people and promote inter-Africa business in line with Africa’s 2063 Agenda, as championed by African leaders. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all African States to embrace the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD). SAATM and YD aims at liberalizing intra-African air transport services in terms of market access and seamless air connectivity within the 54 African Countries. Aviation has a huge market that should be explored by indigenous African Airlines, as no other Nations can develop the aviation sector for us, except we Africans. We need to do this in the interest of our over 1.37 billion people, which is 17.4% of the world’s population. On this note, I wish to call on Uganda to come on board by joining the other 35 African Nations that have signed the solemn commitment to SAATM, as its benefits are so huge to be ignored. It is worthy of note that out of 35 African Nations that have signed SAATM Commitment, 18 out of the 35 Countries have taken further steps to signing to Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) Pilot Implementation Project (PIP), that is, ‘Club of Ready and Willing States’ making it a historic turning point for air transport and economic development in Africa. I hope my colleague will yield to this clarion call!”