Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Deputy Secretary-General, S Pushpanathan, stated the region hopes to sign an open skies agreement with India within “the next few years” (The Hindu, 24-Jan-2010). The region also plans to sign such an agreement with China by the end of this year.
ASEAN hoping to sign open skies agreements with India and China
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Singapore Airlines promotes ASEAN-EU/Japan/Korea open skies to gain more USA fifth freedom flights
Linking Asia with North America has been the market cornerstone for Korean Air and Cathay Pacific while producing a growth market for relatively new entrants like ANA and EVA Air. Yet, while northeast Asian airlines have the geography for profitable nonstop North America flying, southeast Asian airlines are challenged in serving the route.
Singapore Airlines feels the need for a significant North American presence to diversify its network and offset pressure from Gulf airlines, which have profoundly weakened SIA in its core Asia-Europe and Australia-Europe markets. Although Singapore Airlines plans to resume nonstop North American flights, these are token services for strategic purposes.
The primary objective has to be securing more fifth freedom rights for one-stop service. Singapore is encouraging the ASEAN bloc to secure open skies with Japan, Korea and the EU since open skies will entail unlimited fifth freedom rights. Korea is unlikely to agree, with Japan hesitant. Fifth freedom liberalisation is a contentious item in the otherwise benign EU-ASEAN negotiations. Countries worry that granting unlimited fifths opens Pandora's box to growth – not just from SIA, but any number of airlines that are quiescent today but could aspire to be powerhouses in the future.
Brexit and aviation Part 3: Importance of Asian models and liberalisation moves will be accelerated
New cross-border operating alternatives in the international arena are emerging, as times change and the global balance of power shifts towards Asian markets. One option to preserve trans-border networks for airlines is to replicate the prolific Asian LCC JV networks that allow multiple licences in individual jurisdictions while maintaining a common brand. This is no easy solution, is not guaranteed and introduces challenges.
But, as the major EU LCCs review their options in the new environment, there is little doubt that the biggest losers if the UK were excluded from the single aviation market would not be the UK or the EU; those who suffer most will be Europe's consumers and regional economies.
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