Felix Mhona

TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona has moved a motion for ratification of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which is expected to increase international air travel between the two countries.

Presenting BASA agreement in the National Assembly last Thursday, Mhona said the bilateral agreement would give Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry aeronautical authority and responsibility over negotiations and conclusion of BASA with the UAE.

“This agreement will go towards facilitating co-operation and co-ordination between the two States and towards the development of an integrated and sustainable air transport system consistent with best international practices in civil aviation,” Mhona said.

“Grant of Rights — Article 2 states that each of the designated airlines of the parties shall enjoy certain rights, which include flying across the territory of the other contracting party, making stops in the territory of the other party for the purposes of discharging or taking international traffic in passengers, baggage or cargo.

“The entry into force of this agreement is subject to the parties notifying each other through diplomatic channels that their respective internal legal requirements for entry into force of the agreement have been fulfilled.”

He added: “The parties acknowledge the importance of air transportation as a means of fostering co-operation and thus conclude an agreement which is in line with the letter and spirit of the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 (Chicago Convention).”

Mhona said the agreement would eliminate all forms of discrimination and anti-competitive practices in air travel and will allow designated airlines to compete freely in providing air transportation.

“There will be no restrictions on the capacity and number of frequencies or types of aircraft to be operated by each designated airline, no limitations by either party on the volume of traffic frequencies and regularity of service or aircraft types by the designated airlines and there will be no imposition of a first refusal requirement, uplift ratio, no objection fee or any other requirement with respect to capacity, frequencies or traffic which would be inconsistent with the purposes of this agreement.”

He said it was imperative for Parliament to ratify BASA before President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s expected visit to the UAE on March 13 to 16, 2022

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