EU, ASEAN strike bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement

Photo: EP Adina Valean

The European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have concluded negotiations on the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA). This is the world's first bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement, which will bolster connectivity and economic development among the 37 Member States of ASEAN and the EU.

Under the agreement, EU airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services, and any number of cargo services, via and beyond any ASEAN country, and vice versa.  Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said: “The conclusion of this first-ever ‘bloc-to-bloc' air transport agreement marks an important milestone in the EU's external aviation policy. It provides essential guarantees of fair competition for our European airlines and industry, while strengthening reciprocal prospects for trade and investment in some of the world's most dynamic markets. Importantly, this new agreement also provides us with a solid platform to continue promoting the high standards on safety, security, air traffic management, environment and social matters going forward. I am grateful for the constructive approach of all parties involved, which made this historic deal possible.”

The Agreement will help rebuild air connectivity between ASEAN countries and Europe, which has decreased sharply due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and open up new growth opportunities for the aviation industry in both regions. Both parties expressed intent to maintain regular discussions and close coordination to minimise disruptions to air services caused by the pandemic. ASEAN and the EU will now submit the AE CATA for legal scrubbing in preparation for signature at a later date.

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