Jamaicans will soon be able to travel directly to South Africa following the recent signing of an air service agreement with the country.
Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague said the arrangement comes after many years of trying to secure the deal, with “several stops and starts”.
“Many persons have spoken about it and we have finally done it,” the Transport Minister said while addressing a ceremony for the presentation of an Aerodrome Operator Certificate to the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.
“We are very pleased that we now have this air service agreement in place that will facilitate direct flights with [South Africa] possibly into Norman Manley airport.
“In order to get to South Africa you no longer need to go to Panama, Brazil, New York or London; the possibility exists that you can go from Kingston straight into Johannesburg,” he pointed out.
Minister Montague said that the new arrangement will open up opportunities for trade, tourism, study and travel.
In the meantime, he said that the Government is in the process of trying to secure similar air service agreements with other African nations.
“We are discussing with Ghana and I believe Nigeria; we are far down the wicket with them,” Montague said.
Noting that Nigeria is a manufacturer of motor vehicles, including cars, sport utility vehicles and trucks, the minister said “how nice and wonderful it would be to have some of those on our Jamaican roads to underline the whole South-to-South cooperation and to underline that umbilical link to the motherland”.