Comprehensive Air Transport agreement with the European Union last Friday.
It will open skies between the EU and ASEAN member countries, allowing airlines home-based in either region to fly unlimited services between EU and ASEAN member countries.
ASEAN, made up of 10 nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), stands to benefit as more direct competitive services will be established linking aviation hubs in Europe with ASEAN capital cities that will ultimately boost leisure and business travel.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union signed off on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA), credited with being the first region to region aviation agreement in the world. Negotiations stretched out five years leading up to the historic signing ceremony last week.
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement following the landmark agreement that it would enhance air connectivity between ASEAN and Europe and “facilitate people-to-people and business exchanges to support economic growth.”
The two regions pledged to work towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the liberalising of air services. They will collaborate on aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, environmental and social issues.
The successful conclusion of the AE CATA marks the culmination of eight rounds of negotiations that started in October 2016. Singapore led the negotiations for ASEAN while the European Commission (EC) led the negotiations on behalf of the European Union. Efforts to establish the AE CATA can be traced back to the EU-ASEAN Aviation Summit in Singapore in February 2014, where the EC announced its intention to secure a mandate to begin negotiations with ASEAN.
Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran called the successful conclusion of the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement “a historic achievement and a milestone in our bilateral ties.”
A statement of commitment by ASEAN and EU Member States said, “they will together tide over the current COVID-19 crisis, reconnect, and resume cross-border travel to boost business confidence and support economic recovery.”
Under the agreement, airlines of ASEAN and the EU will have greater opportunities to operate passenger and cargo services between and beyond both regions. Airlines of ASEAN and the EU will be able to fly any number of services between the two regions. They can also fly up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo services via and beyond to any third country.
Meanwhile, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said it welcomed the conclusion of negotiations
“This important development comes at a critical moment for airlines from both regions, paving the way for increasing air connectivity across nearly 40 countries.
“AAPA applauds the foresight shown by ASEAN and EU regulators at a crucial time during a global health pandemic, with the far-reaching Agreement creating optimism and confidence for the air transport industry,” the statement read.
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