18 Oct 2022

EU and ASEAN Sign World’s First Air Transport Agreement

The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed yesterday in Bali the world’s first bloc-to-bloc Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA).  Most EU member states so far have had bilateral agreements with some of the ASEAN countries, with different scopes and rules. However, very few had such arrangements with all the countries of ASEAN. The new agreement now includes all member states of each region and replaces all existing contracts with a unified framework, connecting more than one billion people.

The agreement aims to revitalize air travel and transport between Southeast Asia and Europe, which has been severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, based on a clear and transparent regulatory framework. The deal should boost passenger and cargo services between the ten member states of ASEAN and the 27 EU members and create more connectivity, travel, tourism, trade, and other economic development opportunities. ASEAN and EU airlines can now fly unlimited flights between the two regions, and up to 14 weekly passenger services and any number of cargo flights with fifth freedom traffic rights via and beyond to any third country.

In addition to traffic rights, the agreement will provide a level playing field protecting fair competition. It should also establish a basis for increased collaboration between the EU and ASEAN in various areas, including consumer protection, social and environmental matters, safety, security, and air traffic management. The agreement also establishes mechanisms to resolve any disputes quickly.