(08 Jun 2021) The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) on 4 June 2021.
The deal is the world’s first bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement and will bolster connectivity and economic development among the 37 member states of ASEAN and the EU.
Under the agreement, airlines of ASEAN and the EU will be able to fly any number of services between both regions.
In addition, airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services, and any number of cargo services via and beyond to any third country.
Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, said, “With US$10.5 billion of Foreign Direct Investment inflows and US$226.2 billion of trade in goods in 2020, the EU is already the third largest source of investment and the third largest trading partner for ASEAN. The CATA would significantly strengthen air connectivity between ASEAN and Europe and bring both regions even closer together. This would allow them to reap further economic benefits.”
Ms. Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for Transport, 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 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.”
ASEAN and the EU will now submit the CATA for legal scrubbing in preparation for signature at a later date, yet to be confirmed.
In a statement issued on Monday, AAPA said it “applauds the foresight shown by ASEAN and EU regulators at a crucial time during a global health pandemic, with the far-reaching agreement creating optimism and confidence for the air transport industry”.