As the ASEAN region pushes towards deeper economic integration, greater connectivity is important, especially so in communications and transport. The ASEAN Open Skies agreement is increasingly important to help facilitate growth and support the increasing number of tourists expected into the region – projected to hit 145 million by 2023, according to independent studies.
While an agreement in principle has helped grow connectivity between the ten ASEAN countries, the region is still is some distance away from achieving a truly single aviation market, with some member states yet to fully ratify multilateral air service agreements. The Philippines has recently eased its restrictions, but Indonesia and Laos continue to restrict free access to their largest markets.
What is certain is that Open Skies in ASEAN will be unlike Open Skies across other parts of the world and seventh freedom and domestic operations by foreign carriers have yet to be even contemplated. This means some countries in the regions fear their carriers will not be able to compete with stronger operators due to the uneven level of development and competitiveness among member states.
Alan Polivnick, Partner, Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Ltd will be holding two ‘Routes Talks’ sessions on March 7, 2016 at this year’s Routes Asia air service development forum at the SMX Convention Centre in Manila, Philippines to explain what ASEAN Open Skies really means for airlines and for airports.
Ahead of these sessions, Routesonline spoke to Alan Polivnick this week about latest developments in the aviation industry and what the key factors are impacting the sector.
“Aviation is closely linked to the global economy and has benefited significantly from globalisation and increasing connectivity between countries, regions and people. A key issue for 2016 is whether the current economic conditions will continue and this includes the price of oil, the availability of funding for aircraft acquisitions and access to routes and airports,” he said.
As the aviation market across Asia continues to expand, Polivnick highlighted that the region news to adapt to meet growth needs. “My wish list is for more spending on infrastructure, particularly airports and access to airports, enhanced air traffic control management to allow for more slots and flights, greater liberalisation of routes and fewer laws and regulations on the way airlines can own, manage and structure their businesses,” he explained.
Although masked by the fall in oil prices, increased fuel efficiency will have a big impact in Asia, according to Polivnick, especially through the introduction of newer technology airliners. “The introduction of longer range aircraft, such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, with smaller capacity has made secondary routes viable,” he said.
This new technology will also spread to the customers using the aircraft and together with innovative strategies from airlines and airports will mean this will also have a significant impact on the way airlines and airports operate and do business, noted Polivnick.