Monday, July 1, 2013

■ NIGER: UAE, Niger sign Open Skies agreement.

At a ceremony held in the United Arab Emirates recently, the UAE, represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), signed an open skies agreement with the government of the Niger, bringing to 122 the number of fully liberal air service agreements the Gulf nation has with countries around the world.

The signing ceremony
The signing ceremony
The deal comes as Niger has been desperately seeking as many carriers as possible to serve it as a means of increasing its connections to Europe, and in particular, the Gulf.

The agreement was signed by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the GCAA, and Ibrahim Yacoba, Minister of Transport – Niger. GCAA Deputy Director General Omar Bin Ghaleb and GCAA Director of Air Transport Captain Khalid Humaid Al Ali were also present. The two delegations agreed that any number of designated airlines of both parties will have the right to perform scheduled air services between the two countries. 

The UAE delegation designated Emirates Airline (EK), Etihad Airways(EY), Air Arabia (G9), RAK Airways (RT) and FlyDubai (FZ) as the UAE’s national airlines under the agreement.

The agreement allows full flexibility on the routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft, in any type of service (passenger or cargo). The signed memorandum also includes the exercise of fifth freedom traffic rights. In addition, both parties agreed to allow unrestricted non-scheduled/charter operations between the two countries.

Said Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, stressed the importance of open sky agreements like the one signed with Niger, which will contribute to boosting the trade, tourism and investment between the UAE and Niger, taking into account that the now designated carriers of the UAE and Niger can operate direct services between the two countries.

Neighbours Qatar recently finalized an Open Skies agreement with Chad.