February 17, 2014
Singapore is the world aviation city this week, as the Singapore Air Show takes place at the city’s famous Changi Airport and several other events are held in conjunction, including the EU / ASEAN Aviation Summit. The event was an opportunity for government and industry to discuss how the two regions can build closer ties and work with each other to take advantage of the benefits that air traffic growth can bring. While there have been panel sessions on safety, connectivity, air traffic management and airports, the real reason for the Summit seems to be working towards a comprehensive air services agreement between the EU and ASEAN nations.
Speaking at the Summit, Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s Direct General, said: “Liberalising aviation between the EU and ASEAN is not just about normalisation – it is about upping our game in response to increasing competitive pressures from other regions. It is about boosting our own position as global aviation hubs. We need to seize this opportunity for first mover advantage before others reap the full benefit of unrestricted market access. Beyond our own positioning, experience shows that consumers are the biggest winners from aviation liberalisation, and that there are other far-reaching benefits. For us as airports, it is about unleashing our potential to act as engines of economic growth for our communities – something not to be overlooked given the urgency of sustaining Europe’s economic recovery.
The ASEAN region is really one of the aviation growth powerhouses – as EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said in his opening address to the Summit, “Half of the world’s traffic growth over the next 20 years will be to, from, or within the Asia-Pacific region. By 2030, it will be world leader in air traffic, with a market share of 38%. ASEAN will be at the very centre of this exciting development. It will contribute to this growth and also be able take advantage of it. But we are not just going to look on in envy. We are also here to engage with you, to share experiences and ideas, and to learn from you.”
It was mentioned often throughout the Summit that aviation acts as a catalyst for growth in other areas of the economy and that stronger ties in the region, despite challenges of implementation, would provide great benefits to both economies.boeing