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PIA Press Release

ASEAN inks 3 air transport agreements

Manila (7 November) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo witnessed the signing of three agreements by representatives of member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that will lead to the full liberalization of freight and other air services in the ASEAN region.

The ASEAN Transport Ministers, who are in Manila for the 14th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati, paid a courtesy call on the President in Malacanang before they inked the three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to pave the way for the implementation by December of a regional integrated air transport services.

Such move is in line with the ASEAN efforts to realize an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

The MOUs are the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalization of Air Freight Services; ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Service; and the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport.

Signing the agreements are Brunei Darussalam Minister of Communications Pehin Datu Abu Bakar Apong; Cambodia Secretary of State Tauch Chankosal, Indonesia Minister for Transportation Jusman Syani Djamal; Lao PDR Minister of Public Works and Transport Sommad Pholsena;

Malaysia Minister of Transport Dato Sri Ong Tee Keat; Myanmar Minister for Transport Major General Thein Swe; Philippine Secretary of Transportation and Communications Leandro Mendoza; Singapore Minister for Transport Raymond Lim; Thailand Deputy Minister of Transport Varawut Silpa-Archa; and Vietnam Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung.

The three MOUs resulted from the recommendations made last May by the ASEAN Transport Officials Meeting in Mactan, Cebu.

The ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services will lead to the gradual removal of restrictions for greater flexibility and capacity in air freight services in the region.

The agreement will also contribute to the creation of a transport network linking the 10 member-states which seek to build a unified aviation market by 2015.

The ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalization of Air Freight Services aims to ensure an efficient and competitive international air freight services in a move to promote economic growth.

The ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport, on the other hand, aims to facilitate greater trade and bring about closer economic integration in the region.

Secretary Mendoza said the three MOUs signed today were the "last three transportation agreements that will complete the ASEAN Economic Community Integration of Transportation by 2015."

"It marks a milestone in the history of ASEAN as the signing of the agreements will pave the way for the realization of our common vision of an integrated community," he said.

ASEAN officials said air travel liberalization will not be a complete 'open-sky' policy even as regional member countries shall commit to increase flight frequencies within the region within a certain timeline.

Air travel is one of the designated 11 priority sectors for economic integration by 2007 for Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand (ASEAN-6), and by 2012 for the other four ASEAN members -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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