• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria, Brazil restore direct air link as Arik applies for traffic rights

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Nigeria and Brazil are set to restore direct air links 19 years after the Brazilian national carrier; Varig Air stopped direct flights into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Arik Air, the Nigerian carrier designated on the route has commenced the process that will enable it start direct flights into São Paulo, the Brazilian commercial nerve centre and has applied for traffic rights and slot allocation from the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (Agency National De Aviacao Civil) and the Department of Air Transport.

Vincent Okoedion, Nigeria’s ambassador to Brazil, who welcomed a delegation of Arik Air officials in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city, said the commencement of direct flights into Brazil will open up a window of investment opportunities for Nigeria and Brazil in several areas including agriculture, aviation, power, education and culture.

“Brazil is the hub of the economies of South America, just as Nigeria is the hub of the economies in West and Central Africa. Both countries have always had that desire to see the two economies of West Africa and South America linked by direct flights.

“Today, Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world and Nigeria is the fastest growing economy in Africa and the two countries are able to draw all the economies in their respective regions. So once you have a direct flight, this flight is not only connecting the two countries but the two regions, that is in Nigeria, the whole of West Africa and in Brazil, the whole of South America.”

The current move by Arik Air, according to Ado Sanusi, deputy managing director, was a follow-up to the meeting in February this year between President Goodluck Jonathan and President Dilma Rousseff, his Brazilian counterpart, for the restoration of air link between the two countries to boost trade, commerce and cultural ties.