Mr Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, yesterday, confirmed that Nigeria and the Republic of Portugal are set to implement the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).
Sirika said this while receiving Mrs Theresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal in Abuja.
He said the move was part of government efforts towards establishing and asserting the position of Nigeria as an undisputed leader in air transportation in Africa.
Sirika also said that the new BASA would rejuvenate the relationship between the two countries and equally expand business relationships between the people of the two nations.
Sirika said the government had elected Medview and OmniBlu airlines to service the Abuja-Lisbon and Lagos-Lisbon routes, ahead of the formalisation of the agreement at the Air Services Negotiation Conference at Bahamas in December.
He, however, urged the Portuguese authorities to also designate their own carriers immediately to ensure a seamless implementation of the agreement.
Responding, Rebeiro told the Minister that the Nigerian airspace was not completely new to Portuguese airlines.
She added that some of the carriers had been closely collaborating with Nigerian carriers especially during pilgrimage operations, adding that the airlines to service the routes would be named in due course.
The envoy said Nigeria remained the giant of Africa, no matter the current challenges and that Portugal was delighted to enter into the BASA with Nigeria.
She expressed the hope that it would go a long way in cementing the long and cordial relationship between the two nations, while also opening new vistas of cooperation.
Meanwhile, the agreement to commence direct air services between Nigeria and Portugal is expected to be finalised during the forthcoming ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference in December.