The European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a landmark agreement this week that will connect the two regions through direct flights and increasing transport options while offering new opportunities for consumers, airlines and airports.
The accord between 37 countries – the EU states and ASEAN members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – goes into effect immediately and also upgrades rules and standards for concerned flights.
“This first-ever ‘bloc-to-bloc’ air transport agreement brings the EU-ASEAN aviation partnership to a new level. It will support the aviation sector’s recovery after Covid-19 and restore much-needed connectivity to the benefit of some 1.1 billion people, enabling greater business, trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges,” said European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.
The ASEAN region was in 2019 the EU’s 9th largest market for freight and the 16th largest for passengers with more than 8 million travelers.
The EU said the agreement introduces a modern framework for air services between Europe and Asia and provides for a level playing field while creating new air transport opportunities and economic benefits for both sides.
Under the deal, EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights from any member state airport to all airports in ASEAN member countries, and vice versa for ASEAN airlines enabling companies to compete in the lucrative EU-ASEAN market.
Airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services to or from each EU member state and any number of cargo services via and beyond the two regions to any third country. The agreement also includes modern and fair competition provisions to address market distortions.
The EU has signed similar air transport accords with other partner countries, such as the United States, Canada, Qatar, the Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova, Israel, Ukraine and Armenia.