EU, ASEAN Agree to World’s First Bloc-to-bloc Air Transport Pact

 - June 4, 2021, 2:09 PM

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) and its member states have concluded successful negotiations on the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA) at the Extraordinary ASEAN-EU Senior Transport Officials Meeting held virtually on June 2.

The world’s first bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement, the AE CATA will boost connectivity and economic development among the 37 member states of ASEAN and the EU, the parties said in a joint statement released Friday. The agreement allows ASEAN and EU airlines to fly any number of services between both regions and to operate up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo services via and beyond any third country.

Both parties expressed the intent to maintain close discussions and coordination to minimize disruptions to air services caused by the pandemic.

The agreement reflects the latest policy thinking in air transport regulation, including robust fair-competition provisions and doing-business issues, said Friday’s statement. More importantly, it added, the AE CATA sets a foundation for closer cooperation between ASEAN and the EU in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, and environmental and social matters. This deeper cooperation builds upon existing initiatives such as the Enhanced ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE Plus) program on technical assistance and capacity building; the EU-South East Asia on Cooperation on Mitigating Climate Change impact from Civil Aviation: Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (EU-SEA CCCA CORSIA), which supports CORSIA implementation; and the EU-South East Asia Aviation Partnership Project (EU- SEA APP).