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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Abuja, Nigeria)
For Immediate Release                                    August 26, 2000

                               FACT SHEET

              United States - Nigeria Open Skies Agreement
                  and other Transportation Initiatives

Open Skies Agreement. The United States and Nigeria today concluded an "Open Skies Agreement" that will expand and enhance the overall aviation partnership between the two countries. The agreement was signed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater and Nigerian Transport Minister Kimi Chickwe. A total of 47 such agreements have been signed by the United States, all but one under President Clinton. The agreement will permit unrestricted international air service by airlines of the two countries between any city in one country with any city in the other. The agreement maximizes potential competition, encourages price flexibility for passengers and shippers, and encourages improved and expanded service to existing and new markets.

Direct Flights. The United States and Nigeria just concluded an agreement to start a direct flight between Lagos, Nigeria and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Nigeria Airways will utilize for this flight an aircraft and crew "wet leased" from South African Airways that will meet all South African Airways safety and security standards. This direct air link will boost Nigeria's tourism sector and develop Lagos as a gateway to Africa.

The United States also announced several other transportation initiatives with Nigeria today, including:

Airport Security. The transportation agreements announced today build on the strong cooperation that began last year with assistance by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). This assistance helped Nigeria modernize airport and air navigation services in Nigeria, with special emphasis on airport security at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed International Airport. As a result of the improvements made, Transportation Secretary Slater was able to determine that the airport met international security standards, and lifted the ban on service to Lagos in December 1999. Nigeria Airways cannot serve the U.S. with its own planes until the Government of Nigeria brings its oversight of aviation safety up to required international standards.

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