With an eye on furthering tourism and trade, Seychelles has signed eight air service agreements with eight countries at the annual Air Services Negotiation conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) said Friday that the service agreements were signed with Kenya, Bahamas, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, Rwanda and Jamaica by the Seychelles ambassador to Kenya, David Pierre.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, marked seven years of participation in the conference which was held this year from December 10-14.
"Seychelles as a small Island State needs to ensure that it remains well connected with the rest of the world; this is in fact vital to our economic development, which relies heavily on tourism and trade. These agreements provide an important framework that would allow for strategic planning and continued development and growth in air services and the tourism industry in Seychelles," said Pierre.
The Kenyan minister responsible for transport, infrastructure, housing and urban development, James Macharia, noted the excellent relations that exist with Seychelles.
He said that "Seychelles and Kenya has a strong bond of friendship based on trust and mutual understanding; this agreement that we signed today attest to this."
Macharia spoke about the recent visit of the Seychelles' President Danny Faure to Kenya for the sustainable Blue Economy Conference and the commitment made by the two leaders to support one another in realizing the full potential of the blue economy.
"This is very positive as we both see the benefits of our continued collaborations in a myriad of fields, but most importantly in aviation," he said.
The Kenyan minister added that "today's signature is an important stepping stone in our bilateral relations and an important step in our cooperation as developmental partners in the region."
A delegation from Seychelles has been attending the Air Services Negotiation conferences since 2012 when it was held in Saudi Arabia headed by the chief executive of the SCAA, Gilbert Faure.
"It is truly a historic moment. We are very proud that after many years of robust engagement and negotiations we have managed to sign these agreements this week," said Faure.
During the one week conference Seychelles also met with several other countries to negotiate and conclude new air services framework namely Chile, Mali, Poland, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Luxembourg and Mozambique.
Faure said that the participation of Seychelles in this year's conference was a success for the African region overall, "particularly in spearheading the global aviation agenda to meet the goals of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals."
Faure who will be retiring at the end of the year after more than 40 years of service added that "I am very proud of what we have accomplished thus far for Seychelles. Going forward, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that air transport continues to grow on an upward trajectory."
The air services agreements will now be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Assembly for ratification.