GIS - 20 June, 2016:
Mauritius signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Finland on 17 June 2016 at the Prime Minister’s Office in Port Louis. The signatories for the Mauritian side was the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service, Mr Sateeaved Seebaluck, and for the Finish side the Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to Mauritius, Mr Petri Salo. The latter resides in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Agreement provides for multiple designation by each contracting party, for up to 14 weekly frequencies with any aircraft type for passenger services and cargo operations for the designated airlines of each contracting party, and code sharing arrangements between the airlines of either contracting party and with airlines of third countries.
The Agreement is a follow-up of the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding and the initialing of a BASA in October 2015 during the Air Services Negotiations Event 2015 held in Turkey.
In his speech, the Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to Mauritius, Mr Petri Salo, said that the agreement will help to further strengthen the existing bilateral relations between Mauritius and Finland by boosting economic activities including trade and tourism, and will contribute significantly to increase people to people contact between the two countries. Mr Salo highlighted the need for more collaboration between Mauritius and Finland in the fields of ICT, education, and innovation.
For his part, Mr Seebaluck pointed out that the signature of the BASA comes at an opportune time since both governments are developing new air transport strategies to transform the aviation industry into a key driver of economic growth. While the government of Finland is implementing an Air Transport Strategy 2015-2030 to strengthen the Helsinki airport as an international transit hub, the Mauritian government is fully committed to implement a more open and robust air access policy and develop the country as an aviation hub, he said.
The Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service lauded Finland’s modern technology industry based on strong industry traditions, innovative design product development operations, skilled workforce and state-of-the-art technology. He called for increased cooperation between Mauritius and Finland as regards the development of the ocean economy, technical and vocational training, and scholarships at tertiary level.
Furthermore, Mr Seebaluck solicited the support of the Finish Ambassador to explore the possibility of Mauritians to work in Finland under a Circular Migration Programme. ‘This programme would enable Mauritians to take up jobs in Finland for a fixed duration and acquire the Finnish experience before coming back to Mauritius to start their own business or invest in some other activities’, he added. He also invited the Finnish authorities to use Mauritius as a platform to penetrate the SADC which constitutes a huge market.
It is to be noted that in 2015, some 3 900 tourists from Finland have visited Mauritius and tourist arrival from Finland for the first five months this year has reached 2 661.
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