As you can read in this Cockpit News, there was a high level summit in Singapore on 11 – 12 February between the EU and ASEAN leaders. As recognised stakeholder I was representing ECA during this summit. The ASEAN (Association of South Asian Nations) area is a growing fast both economically and in aviation. However, direct routes between the EU and ASEAN area are growing slower than flights with an intermediate stop in the Gulf region.
Vice-President Kallas stated the European Commission will ask the European Member States to give a mandate to start negotiations on a comprehensive EU-ASEAN air transport agreement. With this the EU Commission hopes to open-up the market while we at ECA also see a window of opportunity to address some of the social dumping practices, e.g. certain European companies abusing Thailand’s social and safety legislation.
During this summit discussions were held on how the two regions could help each other. Issues like Single European Sky and Aviation Safety Oversight are areas where the ASEAN Region could benefit from the experience of the EU and ECAC. Cooperation between the ASEAN States has started but they still have a long way to go to fully share responsibilities and knowledge like it is done in the EU.
There is an interest from both sides – EU and ASEAN – to better understand each other’s regime but it was equally clear that – considering the discrepancies between the two regions’ structures – the road to an Open Skies agreement might be very long and bumpy.
ECA welcomes an enhanced dialogue and hopes that it will also allow ASEAN countries to refuse abuse of their regulations by European companies and stimulate growth on a level playing field.
For the ones who follow ECA closely, you might have noticed the job opening for Technical Policy Advisor with ECA in Brussels. We’re looking for someone to support, advise and proactively drive ECA’s advocacy efforts on technical aviation policy issues at EU level. This position is currently held by one of our much appreciated staff members, Kris van der Plas. Kris joined the team almost 5 years ago and now he has been offered an exciting and challenging new opportunity outside ECA. We wish him all the best in his new position and thank him for the years of dedication he gave to us – at ECA – and all pilots in Europe.
by Nico Voorbach