Nigeria plans to sign agreement with Israel allowing direct airline flights

LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigeria, whose aviation safety record is again under scrutiny, is to sign an agreement with Israel allowing direct flights for airlines from both countries.

Her spokesman, Joe Obi, says Aviation Minister Stella Oduah is flying to Israel to sign the deal Wednesday.

Obi says it is a boon for Nigerian Christians wishing to visit the Holy Land. Many Israeli business officials also operate in Nigeria.

Three weeks ago, a Nigerian turboprop plane nosedived after takeoff from Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, killing at least 13 of the 20 people on board.

Four of the country’s 16 airlines have since been grounded amid questions about aircraft maintenance.

Nigeria has a poor airline safety record. A plane crash last year killed all 153 people onboard and 10 on the ground.