ASEAN seals deals to boost regionwide air, land links

The Jakarta Post - - SPORTS - Karamjit Kaur ANN/STRAITS TIMES/SIN­GA­PORE

ASEAN has taken key steps to in­te­grate its skies, giv­ing trav­el­ers more flight op­tions within the re­gion, and industry play­ers more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ben­e­fit from the growth in the de­mand for air travel.

At the close of the 23rd ASEAN Trans­port Min­is­ters Meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore on Fri­day, mem­ber states inked five ini­tia­tives and adopted six, reaf­firm­ing the bloc’s com­mit­ment to­wards en­hanc­ing trans­port co­op­er­a­tion not just within the re­gion but also with part­ners, in­clud­ing China.

In an up­date, Sin­ga­pore’s Trans­port Min­istry (MOT) said deals inked in­cluded the adop­tion of the ASEAN Air Traf­fic Man­age­ment Mas­ter Plan to fa­cil­i­tate air­craft move­ment across the re­gion in a more in­te­grated and har­mo­nized man­ner.

When fully re­al­ized, this should en­hance airspace ca­pac­ity and safety, re­duce flight de­lays and lower op­er­a­tional costs for air­lines, the min­istry said in a press re­lease.

Min­is­ters also signed two agree­ments to lib­er­al­ize air ser­vices in the re­gion.

The first is to al­low do­mes­tic code-share rights be­tween points within the ter­ri­tory of any ASEAN mem­ber state.

This means that a Sin­ga­pore car­rier, for ex­am­ple, can part­ner an In­done­sian air­line to of­fer Sin­ga­pore trav­el­ers a sin­gle book­ing for a Sin­ga­pore-Jakarta flight, and from there, to an­other In­done­sian des­ti­na­tion op­er­ated by the In­done­sian car­rier.

This will al­low ASEAN air­lines to ex­pand their in­ter­na­tional net­works with­out de­ploy­ing their own air­craft, the re­lease said.

For trav­el­ers, it will mean more flight op­tions and con­ve­nient trans­fers from one air­line to an­other.

The co­op­er­a­tion will en­able the greater move­ment of peo­ple and goods, ben­e­fit­ing our economies and busi­nesses, and ex­pand­ing tourism, MOT added.

The sec­ond agree­ment seeks to pro­gres­sively re­duce re­stric­tions on trade in air trans­port an­cil­lary ser­vices within ASEAN.

This in­cludes, for ex­am­ple, fewer re­stric­tions for firms that may want to of­fer ground-han­dling ser­vices at air­ports based in other ASEAN states.

In the area of man­power devel­op­ment, ASEAN states have also agreed to mu­tu­ally rec­og­nize li­cens­ing re­quire­ments for flight crew, in­clud­ing pi­lots.

This will make it eas­ier for li­censes to be val­i­dated or con­verted, paving the way for more con­ve­nient trans­fers for flight crew who may want to join an­other ASEAN car­rier.

Out­side the re­gion, ASEAN and China also inked a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing to boost co­op­er­a­tion among the au­thor­i­ties that over­see air­craft ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

This will pave the way for the shar­ing of in­ves­ti­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties and equip­ment, as well as ex­per­tise.

To fa­cil­i­tate land trans­fers, the ASEAN Frame­work Agree­ment on the Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of Cross Bor­der Trans­port of Pas­sen­gers by Road Ve­hi­cles was inked to make it eas­ier for buses to move be­tween bor­ders.

This will make it more con­ve­nient for com­muters, and also cre­ate more com­mer­cial and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for trans­port and other firms, MOT said.

Speak­ing at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the 23rd Asean Trans­port Min­is­ters Meet­ing, Khaw Boon Wan, Co­or­di­nat­ing Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture and Min­is­ter for Trans­port, said that closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween mem­bers states “will make a real dif­fer­ence to rais­ing the qual­ity of life for our peo­ple, cre­at­ing good pay­ing jobs and con­tribut­ing to peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.”

The next meet­ing will be held in Thai­land next year.

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