Aviation: Jamaicans can now fly directly to Africa
For the first time Jamaicans traveling to Nigeria will no longer have to fly to England or the USA but will be able to fly directly to the African continent.
The long-awaited air travel between Jamaica and Nigeria is now a reality due to an agreement between the two governments. Both governments recently signed a bilateral agreement to facilitate direct air service for a cheaper cost and in a much shorter time. Instead of losing time with stopovers in London or New York, Jamaican travelers can now arrive to their destination in eight hours.
This is the culmination of a process started some time ago which was highlighted by Peter Oyedele, Nigerian ambassador to Jamaica.
“This is to inform the general public that the governments of Jamaica and Nigeria have initiated Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) which will facilitate direct air link between both countries,” a press release stated.
“It is hoped that within the next couple of months, interested airlines will begin to lift passengers direct from Kingston to what many Jamaicans call, the ‘motherland’ at a cheaper cost and a shorter and more comfortable travel time,” the release further stated.
“All the airlines will be so informed by both governments for them to decide. For the route is now free for them to exploit,” Oyedele said.
The release also highlighted the mutual advantages possible from this landmark development in the relations between Nigeria and Jamaica which formally started with the opening of the Nigeria High Commission in Kingston in 1990. Jamaica remains the only Jamaican Diplomatic Mission in Africa until a few years ago.
“The establishment of direct air connection between Jamaica and Nigeria will open the African and Middle Eastern countries to Jamaica and also enable Nigerians to have direct contact with their kith and kin not only in Jamaica but in the entire Caribbean Region.”
Among other benefits will be the promotion of trade and investment between the two countries. Since the route will be shorter than the existing one through a third country, there will be reduced cost and elimination of visa through third countries. We shall also be witnessing student and cultural exchanges between citizens of both countries.
The Jamaican tourism industry will in addition be expected to witness a boost as more Nigerians will be exposed to the hospitality on the Caribbean island.
“The initiation also coincides with celebrations throughout the region of the United Nations Declaration of the Year 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent.”
BY VINETTE K. PRYCE