PH to benefit from EU-Asean open skies

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 16 2014 10:27 AM | Updated as of Feb 17 2014 06:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The proposed “open skies” agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to result in higher standards of safety and regulation as well as more reasonable fares for airline passengers.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the ASEAN would have to first achieve a single aviation market as part of the ASEAN integration in 2015 before entering into a comprehensive air agreement with the EU.

“It is still a long way. This is still in its infancy stages. Immediate goal is to first achieve an ASEAN single aviation market. This should be achieved as part of ASEAN 2015,” abaya said.

According to Abaya, the proposed “open skies” between EU and ASEAN would translate to higher safety standards for airlines as well as cheaper fares for airline passengers.

“This will allow competition, higher standards of safety and regulation and more access to flights and more reasonable fares for our people,” he said.

Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the EU has been helping the Asean achieve a single aviation market through a project called the Asean Air Transport Integration Project (AATIP) that serves a venue for exchange of info on practices within ASEAN and the EU and capacity building for aviation authorities of ASEAN.

“The proposed EU-Asean comprehensive air transport agreement is a welcome development and is something to look forward to especially so, that the trend in aviation is connectivity and seamless travel. This is also a chance for our airlines to beef up their operations and compete in a bigger field,” Arcilla said.