Nigeria and the State of Israel on Monday signed the Bilateral Air Services Agreement.
The Ministry of Aviation said the agreement had been problematic for decades, with several aviation ministers and successive governments failing in attempts at putting pen to paper.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, said the signing was a significant feat for the present administration.
The statement reads in part, “With the agreement, designated airlines from both countries would begin to operate direct flights to each other’s territories.
“Trade, tourism, agriculture, transportation, water resources, amongst others would be tremendously boosted and enhanced as access to both territories would be much easier through direct flights.”
It said Nigerian Christian pilgrims would also have a huge burden lifted off their shoulders as the long trips and stop-overs in neighbouring and adjourning countries en-route the Holy Land on a yearly basis would be eliminated.
The Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, according to the statement, described the agreement as not only historic, but also a remarkable endorsement of the transformation taking place in the aviation sector in Nigeria.
She was quoted as saying, “I am particularly happy that President Jonathan’s reforms in the aviation sector are bearing fruits and receiving the endorsement of the international community.
“With this agreement, Nigeria is opening up another important frontier in its bid to open up the country to world, boost its economy and facilitate the fast growing aviation sector. This is one of my happiest moments as minister because Israel is very strategic to the diplomatic and economic interest of Nigeria.”