India-Nigeria direct flights to boost trade, co-operation | SupportBiz

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India-Nigeria direct flights to boost trade, co-operation

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 USD26 billion.

"We are negotiating the renewal of BASA with Nigeria. Ideally, it should be possible for us to use the opportunity to ensure direct flights, especially for medical tourists," he stated.

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 that the current trade figure was in favour of Nigeria, with an annual gain of USD12 billion.

"Nigeria sells more than they buy from India," he stated.

Stating that India's investment in Nigeria had doubled to USD9 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.