AviationEU-Asean agreement teases with fifth freedom opportunities

Europe here we come: Aviation pact promises more global connections

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Aviation pact opens the way for Singapore carriers to launch services to the Americas via cities such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon.
Aviation pact opens the way for Singapore carriers to launch services to the Americas via cities such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon. Photo Credit: SIA

Asean and the European Union have finally signed off on an aviation pact after six years of intense negotiations.

The deal, signed by Asean and EU transport ministers who were meeting in Bali, promises passengers a greater variety of destinations, more flight frequencies, and more travel options between South-east Asia and Europe.

Under the pact, airlines from the 37 Asean and EU countries will be able to fly any number of services between the two regions. It promises to reduce red tape and provide a single set of rules governing Asean-EU flights.

Airlines will also be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo services from a country in one bloc to a country in the other bloc with fifth freedom traffic rights, via any third country or beyond to any third country.

There could also be more transatlantic flights by Singapore carriers to the Americas via cities such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon.

Professor Alan Tan of the National University of Singapore Law School, told the Straits Times that the benefits of the agreement for passengers will take time to take effect, given the small number of connecting fifth freedom flights to a third country that can be operated on new routes, capacity constraints at European airports, and strong competition from Middle Eastern carriers.

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