EU Signs Accord With Southeast Asian Bloc to Expand Flights

LONDON – The European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has on October 18, signed a comprehensive agreement for air transport, set to open up more opportunities as well as enhance direct connectivity between the two regions, all while upgrading rules and standards for concerned flights.

The agreement


The air transport agreement signed by the European Union and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) took effect immediately on October 18th, 2022, and will set global benchmarks committing to all 37 countries in both regions.

This will also fair competition and further improve social and environmental conditions.

The agreement marks itself as the latest example of a new generation in international air transport agreements and will enable new opportunities to show themselves for consumer airlines and airports for both regions.

The agreement also expects to bring out newer economic and air transport features, benefiting both parts of the agreement.

The key parts of the agreement are:

  • It will replace over 140 air service agreements with the provision of a single-set rule system. Together with this, EU member states without any bilateral agreements together with ASEAN states will be covered by a modern legal framework.
  • Every airline in the EU will be ok to operate direct flights to any of the ASEAN state airports and vice versa. This is going to greatly help EU and ASEAN airlines to further compete with other airlines targeting the same market
  • Up to 14 weekly passenger services to or from the EU member states, as well as any number of cargo hauling between the two states, will be approved to operate by the airlines as a part of the “fifth freedom traffic right”
  • Modern and fair provisions for competition to address market distortions

Agreement statements


On the agreement, Transport Commissioner, Adina Vălean, said:- “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.”

“It replaces more than 140 bilateral air services agreements, providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape. It also gives us a new platform to work jointly towards our shared commitment to economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable aviation.”

Allowing greater space for play


With ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a global economic powerhouse within a rapidly growing aviation market. In 2019, it was the European Union’s 9th largest freight market and 16th largest passenger market, as it serviced eight million travelers the given year.

The introduction of a modern framework between the EU and Asia in regard to air services will open opportunities whilst, at the same time, ensuring high standards, making it an investment in the future

What’s next?


With the signing of the agreement, it will take force immediately, and as a next step, both parties are set to launch the ratification process in line with their own respective procedures to bring the agreement into force.

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