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Asian governments to open skies in 2007

(Sydney: 08 March 2007) The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation predicts aviation liberalisation will regain momentum in 2007, according to its new Aviation Outlook report.

“The only thing preventing economic expansion for millions of people in Asia, especially in regional centres, is the constricting grip of government aviation policy. Past logjams have been caused by government inertia, but, led by India and China, the liberalisation of aviation access in Asia in 2007 is set to regain some of the momentum lost in 2005/06”, said Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison.

The Outlook report highlights the pivotal role of the Singapore-Malaysia bilateral agreement in potentially leading a wave of aviation liberalisation in Asia this year.

“This agreement could be a touchstone for change. It is – paradoxically for two of the otherwise most liberal regimes in the region – almost archaically restrictive in its current form. The expected surge in traffic particularly if the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is opened up – will attract headlines throughout the region. A fully opened market on that route would quickly treble in size”, said Mr Harbison.

Several important bilateral and multilateral deals should also gain some much-needed movement in the wake of a Malaysia-Singapore shift. The Jan-07 announcement that four ASEAN countries will conclude a multilateral liberalisation agreement is undoubtedly a good sign, as the 2008 deadline for the full ten-country agreement approaches, stated the Outlook report.

“2007 will be an important year for liberalisation of aviation access in Asia. Liberalisation tends to be infectious, and the germs of change are in the air”, concluded Mr Harbison.

These findings from part of the Centre’s 181-page outlook report, available now at centreforaviation.com. This year’s report covers the Big Issues facing Asia Pacific aviation in 2007, including LCCs, liberalisation, restructuring, aircraft orders/deliveries, skills, funding, security, the environment and the economy.

The overall themes of ‘Outlook 2007: Dawn of a New Era’ include an impending “full frontal attack” on flag carriers commencing in 2007, and the continued unfolding of the influential LCC story in Asia.