By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Miami-Dade County Mission, US, has expressed optimism that direct flights from Nigeria to Miami will commence in the nearest future.
The county also urged for stronger ties with Nigeria through aviation and other sectors to garner a mutually beneficial front for both Nigeria and the United States of America municipal.
The mission made this known during a meeting with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other stakeholders in Lagos on Monday, June 20, 2022.
Over 40 delegates from different fields in the US interacted with Nigerians from various strata of the economy to express their intent to build stronger business bonds.
Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, who gave the welcome remarks said FAAN is consistently seeking new avenues for expansion and not depending mainly on aeronautical sources of revenue.
The MD represented by Director of Finance and Accounting, Mrs Nike Aboderin, urged those in attendance to exchange business ideas and explore prospects of expansion and ways of collaboration with delegates from Miami-Dade County.
Also speaking, Director, Human Resources, FAAN, Mr Norris Anozie, said that FAAN as an agency would ensure the relationship between it and the county will yield positive results.
“Our take home as an authority is to build the relationship and in building that relationship we would find similarities between both sides. We have the opportunity to expand and diversify those similarities. We are happy they came and established a relationship and we hope this would help grow our own facilities and passengers as part of the reason for the visit is to expand tourism and air transport.
On the exchange program that was in place, he said, “We are going to jumpstart that program again. It was stopped for some reasons one was COVID-19 and two there were some logistics we needed to overcome but we are going to start that program again but this time around make it more robust.”
Speaking from the aviation point of view and the need for stronger ties, Director, Terminal Operations Division for the Miami- Dade Airport department, Rupen Philloura called for a direct connection between Nigeria and Miami- Dade directly as that airport is a direct link to Latin and North America and the Caribbean markets.
Philloura inferred that despite the lack of a direct connection Nigeria is still the fourth largest market to the airport despite barely tapping its resources.
He however said a lot of research on the numbers had to go in to understand the impact of flights between Miami-Dade and Nigeria.
He said, “it is premature to measure the impact but we are approaching with open-mindedness as both parties needed to do market research on both ends and see the viability of passenger volume and also the trade logistics, this is just a first step.”
In his closing remarks, Miami-Dade County Commissioner (County 2), Jean Monestine, said the intent of the mission is to get Nigeria to reciprocate the visit and open business opportunities by starting direct flights between Nigeria and Miami-Dade so as to cut out the transit and increase traffic both passenger and cargo.
He said, “We come here to establish a relationship with the people of Nigeria we encourage them to visit as tourists or for commercial and trade using our airport and seaport, so the economy of respective communities can be furthered and that is exactly why we are here. We have representatives of our airport, representatives of our seaport, representatives of our tourism board and so many business opportunities.”