Open skies to spur Asean growth

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Monday, March 30, 2015


THE Asean Single Aviation Market (Asam) is crucial to the development of the aviation industry and the economic growth of Southeast Asia, an Air Asia Zest executive said.

"Asam, including the Asean open skies, are needed to spur the growth of the Asean aviation idustry and its economy. We need Asam to fly to more destinations and increase frequencies," Joy C. Caneba, AirAsia Zest chief executive officer, said in her message during a meeting of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. Friday.

She said by 2032, Southeast Asian airlines will operate close to 3,500 aircraft.

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"Airlines in the region need Asam to expand and reach its aspiration in serving more people," Caneba said, adding that it will also address the projected demand for 48,100 pilots and 50,300 aircraft technicians by 2032.

She said the airline industry provides a 12 times multiplier effect to the local economy.

Caneba said some Asean countries have aviation policies that impede the full implementation of Asam.

"There are protectionist policies in place [and] there is resistance in regional standards, which can be good for efficiency," she said.

At present, when one airline wants to operate from one country to another it must go through a lot of red tape.

Other problems faced by the Asam are the lack of transparency; limited staff mobility due to exisiting regulatory restrictions; and the need for bilateral agreements.

She also said seat allocations given to airlines who want to operate in one country do not help boost the growth of the industry.

"To usher Asam we need a mindset change..what worked for us a decade ago cannot always work for us forever," Caneba said.

"Aviation must be seen wholistically, it is not about operating flights, it is not a standalone industry. Aviation is very close to tourism but also to security and political stability, economic empowerment, and good infrastructure," she added.

"The private sector need to go beyond thinking only of what benefits them but also consider what benefits the public," she said.

Caneba said AirAsia has submitted a policy paper to the Asean secretariat on open skies.

It proposed the following: the need for infrastructure that meets the needs of travellers; free movement of human capital; an Asean common visa to further develop aviation; a single aviation regulatory authority for operational and cost efficiency. RJL

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 30, 2015.

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