New deals with African states will be on the agenda for the UK's air services negotiating team when it attends the ICAN bilaterals conference in South Africa next month.
The UK will be seeking its first air service agreements with "one or two" African countries including the Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville.
"This year ICAN is in Africa for the first time, so you got quite a lot of African states that probably would not normally be at ICAN. And there’s one or two states there that we don’t have an ASA [air services agreement] with at the moment, so there’s opportunity to get an ASA in place with those countries," says Mark Bosly, head of aviation negotiations at the UK Department for Transport.
"We can take the opportunity to say to them: 'Here’s our model air service agreement, we can talk you through it.' We can maybe agree we’ll resolve it through correspondence going forward, or they might be able to sign it there and then."
Other priorities for the team include meetings with Brazil and also India, which Bosly notes is "a big market with plenty of opportunities, so we need to have a relationship there".
The UK team has scheduled 32 meetings with other states for the five-day ICAO-organised conference, which is taking place in Durban.