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Asean Free Skies - Possible?

Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:42 pm

Title : ASEAN nations considering hastening open skies pact: Malaysia
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Date : 14 August 2006 1749 hrs (SST)

KUALA LUMPUR - Some Southeast Asian countries are considering bringing forward an open-skies agreement due to be implemented in the region by 2008, Malaysian Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said Monday.

"We are open (to the idea). Some countries say yes, some are very concerned and some say no. So it is mixed feelings among ASEAN members," Chan told AFP. "We will look in to it," he added.

Chan said neighbouring Singapore, a major regional aviation hub, was "pushing" for the deadline to be brought forward.

The minister said his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had agreed that by end-2008, there will be free passage of capital-to-capital flights among member countries.

"So we are just merely talking about bringing forward that arrangement, either bilaterally or multilaterally," he said.

"But since we have a message that (Singapore-based) Tiger Air is keen to operate to Kuala Lumpur and of course AirAsia has also told us that they do not mind flying to Singapore ... we are prepared to look into it," Chan said.

Chan said a committee under Malaysian transport ministry secretary-general Muhamad Safaruddin would look into the impact of early implementation.

An open skies policy is an aviation principle that allows a foreign airline to operate unlimited services to another country.

The ASEAN agreement would initially apply for routes between ASEAN capitals and would later expand to other cities.

AirAsia's chief executive Tony Fernandes, which has complained in the past about the budget carrier being denied access to Singapore, hailed the prospect of early aviation liberalisation among ASEAN capitals.

"It is a huge benefit for AirAsia. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out the gains. The KL-Singapore route is one of the most expensive routes around and yet there is a huge demand to go there," he told AFP.

"It will benefit both Malaysia and Singapore. The airfare will be a lot less," he said.

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is one of Asia's most lucrative and fourth-busiest route.

Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines operate more than 200 flights per week on the monopolised route under a 34-year-old bilateral air services agreement. A round trip costs about 900 ringgit (250 dollars).

- AFP /ls

Dream waiting to happen or fat hope?
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Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:18 pm

RE: Asean Free Skies - Possible?

Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:18 pm

Malaysia was potrayed as very "open" about it in the news article. Singapore however, was the opposite.

I think the capital to capital open sky policies will be realised by end of 2008. ASEAN is a 10 members organisation and I think all the other 8 countries seem collective about it, except for Malaysia and Singapore due to this KUL-SIN route.

It's a dream waiting to happen.
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 1:09 pm

RE: Asean Free Skies - Possible?

Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:26 pm

One idea I heard last year was a common air regulation system in asia similar to JAR in Europe. I think its a wonderful idea especially with many asian countries needing updated regulations. I haven't heard much about it recently though. Has anyone heard anything about this?

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