Asean and European Union conclude landmark aviation agreement to improve air connectivity

SINGAPORE – Asean and the European Union (EU) have agreed on a landmark aviation agreement that will allow for more flights between the two regions.

Under the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, airlines from the 37 member countries within Asean and the European Union will be able to fly any number of services between both regions.

They will also be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services, and any number of cargo services via and beyond to any third country.

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Friday (June 4) said the agreement is the first region-to-region aviation agreement in the world.

It will improve air connectivity between Asean and Europe, and facilitate exchanges between people and businesses, the ministry added in a statement.

“This will help support economic development in both regions as we work towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said MOT.

“In addition to air services liberalisation, the (agreement) provides for cooperation between Asean and the EU in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, and environmental and social issues.”

The agreement was first mooted in February 2014 at an aviation summit between Asean and EU in Singapore.

There were eight rounds of negotiations starting in October 2016 before the agreement was concluded, MOT said.

Singapore led the negotiations for Asean, while the European Commission led negotiations for the EU.

Said Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran: “The successful conclusion of the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement is a historic achievement and a milestone in our bilateral ties.

“It is the first such region-to-region agreement and a statement of commitment by Asean and EU member states to work together to tide over the current Covid-19 crisis, reconnect, and resume cross-border travel.”

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