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30.08.2004 Business & Finance

Uganda, Ghana for Direct Flights

By The Monitor (Kampala)

Kampala -- Uganda and Ghana have signed an agreement for direct commercial passenger and cargo flights between the two countries. It is the first air agreement between the two countries and second to be signed by Uganda and a West African country. Uganda signed a similar memorandum of understanding with Nigeria two years ago.

Mr Ignie Igunduura, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Public Relations Manager said flights between Uganda and Ghana have previously been on "a casual basis."

A Memorandum of Understanding to establish direct air links with Ghana was signed in Kampala on August 25. Dr Rama Makuza, CAA Deputy Managing Director signed on behalf of Uganda While Mr Selby Ankra Twumasi signed on behalf of Ghana Aeronautical Authority.

The MOU is precursor to the bilateral air services agreement to be signed between the two countries after fulfillment of formalities. According to the agreement Airlines from the contracting parties commence services in 30 days.

"The meeting considered application of laws, regulations, and procedures of each country, air worthiness certification, licensing of personnel and equipment, tariffs and aviation safety and security issues," Igunduura said in an interview with The Monitor.

It is expected that direct air link would increase trade between the two countries. CAA officials challenged the business community to exploit the opportunity to expand their business.

He told The Monitor that the head of the Ghana delegation said the challenge was now for the two countries' air operators to link Uganda and Ghana through provision of efficient and regular air Services.

Igunduura said Uganda could sign a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Nigeria in October this year, allowing flights to start.

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