Philippines, Indonesia, Laos block ASEAN open sky agreement

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ASEAN-Open-SkyOnly a few days after the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) the idea of airlines from ASEAN member states flying freely throughout the region hit a bump.

The so-called ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASAM), which was to come into effect on January 1, 2016, has clearly missed its deadline as three members of the 10-nation bloc, namely the Philippines, Indonesia and Laos, remain reluctant to join the scheme by not ratifying the agreement on time.

The plan was for all carriers from ASEAN to be able to fly freely from their home country to any city within the bloc. But the three above mentioned countries still restrict airlines from fellow member states to fly to all cities in their jurisdiction. In detail, the Philippines has excluded Manila from the open skies list, Indonesia has only opened up Jakarta, and Laos has not yet freed up Vientiane and Luang Prabang for Thai carriers.

The other eight countries have lifted all restrictions in line with the broader aims of the AEC which are built upon the idea that a liberalised aviation sector would boost air traffic in a region home to 630 million people, stimulating air connectivity, encouraging higher service quality and lowering ticket prices for passengers as competition increases.

“It is likely that ASAM will have to be extended or have a second launch stage declared to tackle this matter,” said Alan Tan, an aviation law professor at the National University of Singapore.

“In other words, so far ASAM remains very much a work in progress. The countries need to accept these final pieces of the puzzle soon in order to jump-start the ASEAN single market. Otherwise, there will be significant gaps,” he added.

 

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Only a few days after the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) the idea of airlines from ASEAN member states flying freely throughout the region hit a bump.

Reading Time: 1 minute

ASEAN-Open-SkyOnly a few days after the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) the idea of airlines from ASEAN member states flying freely throughout the region hit a bump.

The so-called ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASAM), which was to come into effect on January 1, 2016, has clearly missed its deadline as three members of the 10-nation bloc, namely the Philippines, Indonesia and Laos, remain reluctant to join the scheme by not ratifying the agreement on time.

The plan was for all carriers from ASEAN to be able to fly freely from their home country to any city within the bloc. But the three above mentioned countries still restrict airlines from fellow member states to fly to all cities in their jurisdiction. In detail, the Philippines has excluded Manila from the open skies list, Indonesia has only opened up Jakarta, and Laos has not yet freed up Vientiane and Luang Prabang for Thai carriers.

The other eight countries have lifted all restrictions in line with the broader aims of the AEC which are built upon the idea that a liberalised aviation sector would boost air traffic in a region home to 630 million people, stimulating air connectivity, encouraging higher service quality and lowering ticket prices for passengers as competition increases.

“It is likely that ASAM will have to be extended or have a second launch stage declared to tackle this matter,” said Alan Tan, an aviation law professor at the National University of Singapore.

“In other words, so far ASAM remains very much a work in progress. The countries need to accept these final pieces of the puzzle soon in order to jump-start the ASEAN single market. Otherwise, there will be significant gaps,” he added.

 

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