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ASEAN and EU inks comprehensive air transport agreement

The transport minister said it will “establish a liberalised air services framework”.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) have signed the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement that will allow airlines of ASEAN and the EU to have more opportunities to operate passenger and cargo services between and beyond both regions.

Under the agreement, airlines of ASEAN and the EU will be able to fly any number of passenger and cargo services between both regions. In addition, airlines of each country of one bloc will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo services to each country of the other bloc with 5th freedom traffic rights, via any third country or beyond to any third country. 

Travellers can stand to benefit from direct access to new destinations, more flights between major ASEAN and European hubs, and a greater network of flights between and beyond ASEAN and the EU. The agreement also provides for cooperation between ASEAN and the EU in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, and environmental and social issues

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The ASEAN Transport Ministers also agreed to sign the ASEAN Agreement on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Cooperation. The agreement, together with the ASEAN Search and Rescue Standard Operating Procedures (SAR-SOP) adopted in 2018, aims to raise the level of coordination among ASEAN Member States on SAR activities.

Singapore Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran said this landmark agreement is a testament of region-to-region collaboration between the two associations.

“The signing of this agreement today is especially opportune, as it will establish a liberalised air services framework in support of the recovery of aviation after the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond promoting traffic recovery, the ASEANEU CATA will open up new markets and promote deeper direct air connectivity between our two regions,” the minister said.

These agreements were signed following the conclusion of the 28th ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting and associated meetings with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, which took place on 16 and 17 October 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.

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