In October 2022, at the 28th ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) and its member states signed the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) in Indonesia. Talks and negotiations that started in 2016 finally resulted in agreement, which also happens to be the world’s first bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement.
The ASEAN-EU CATA will strengthen the relationship between both the regions and the member countries, enabling them to work together on their respective aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, and environmental and social matters.
Another benefit is that the agreement will improve travel opportunities between Southeast Asia and Europe for travelers, which would act greatly in favor of the ASEAN and EU airlines. Also, airlines of each country of one bloc can now fly up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo services to each country of the other bloc with 5th freedom traffic rights, via any third country or beyond to any third country.
S Iswaran, Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations of Singapore, said, “It comes at an opportune time, opening up new growth opportunities for the aviation industry in both regions, as we work towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore is honored to have been ASEAN’s lead coordinator from the inception to the conclusion of the agreement and would like to thank our fellow ASEAN member states and the EU for their strong cooperation and support.”
(Source: Philippine News Agency)