Mauritius signed this afternoon a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Portugal at the Treasury Building in Port Louis. The signatories were Ambassador Maria Amelia Maio de Paiva from the Portuguese side and Mr N. K. Ballah, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, from the Mauritian side.
In her speech, Ms Maio de Paiva highlighted that this agreement will help to further strengthen ties between the two countries while adding that the bilateral relations Mauritius and Portugal are based on friendship, shared interests and values.
She pointed out that Mauritius and Portugal need to collaborate on several aspects such as the introduction of the portuguese language in Mauritius, the blue and green economy, ICT and the strengthening of academic collaboration between the University of Mauritius and the University of Portugal.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Portugal to Mauritius also spoke in favour of a triangular cooperation with countries speaking the Portuguese language. She recalled that the portuguese language is the most spoken language in the Atlantic Ocean and that around 250 million people speak the language globally.
For his part, Mr N. K. Ballah, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, said that the signature of the agreement between Mauritius and Portugal will establish the necessary framework for the development and promotion of air links and other exchanges between the two countries.
He said that through this agreement, Air Mauritius will be able to expand its visibility on the Portuguese market. He added that with a view to better offer its passengers travel possibilities between Mauritius and Portugal via Paris, Air Mauritius intends to place its code on flights operated by Air France from Paris to Lisbon and Porto in Portugal.
Mr Ballah also pointed out that the agreement will lead to an increase of tourists between the two countries. He recalled that some 4 222 tourists from Portugal visited Mauritius last year and tourist arrivals are expected to reach 5 000 by the end of 2017. He also appealed to Portuguese companies to invest in Mauritius and to use Mauritius as a financial hub for channeling investments in Africa.
The Agreement is a follow-up of a Memorandum of Understanding and an Air Transport Agreement initialed in October 2015 in the margins of the International Conference on Air Services Negotiations held in Antalya, Turkey.
The signature of the BASA between Mauritius and Portugal will create the necessary framework to promote the development of air links and exchanges between the two countries. The main provisions of the BASA are as follows: multiple designation of airlines by each Party for up to seven weekly frequencies; third and fourth traffic rights for the designated airlines of each Party; and code sharing possibilities with airlines of either Party as well as with airlines of third countries.
It is to be noted that diplomatic relations between Mauritius and Portugal were established in December 1976.