EU & ASEAN make aviation history with bloc-to-bloc air transport deal – ASEAN airlines dominate

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After years of discussions and six of negotiations, the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement on 17-Oct-2022.

The deal replaces more than 140 bilaterals between the 27-member EU and the 10-member ASEAN blocs, with a combined population of 1.1 billion. Following a number of EU-wide deals with individual nations, it is the first air transport agreement between two blocs of nations.

ASK capacity in the EU-ASEAN market grew at almost 5% pa for three years until interrupted by COVID-19, a baseline of growth that could be boosted by the new liberalised deal. Airlines from ASEAN lead in this market, particularly Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, but all participants could benefit from new opportunities. New entrants can also be expected.

The agreement applies immediately, although it will now go through ratification processes required on both sides. That is likely to be a formality, with all member nations on both sides benefiting from increased market access and improved connectivity.

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