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Karamjit Kaur
Thursday, Sep 25, 2014

Travel, Singapore

Asean gets green light for unlimited Jakarta flights

The Straits Times | Karamjit Kaur | Thursday, Sep 25, 2014

If a deadline for unlimited flights within the region by the end of next year is met, it would mean, for example, that Singapore Airlines could fly to any part of the region as often as it wants - without any flight restrictions - as long as it believes there is demand and it can get landing slots from airports.

Indonesia has signed a deal to allow ASEAN airlines to make unlimited flights to Jakarta, The Straits Times has learnt - a move which could lead to cheaper fares and more flight options for travellers flying within the region.

The move follows a campaign which started about a decade ago to get the 10 ASEAN nations to remove all restrictions on flights from their countries and push to become one aviation market - similar to the European Union's "single sky".

Indonesia had been reluctant to sign up to the agreement but now that its capital is on board, aviation experts are confident that other Indonesian cities will follow suit.

The Philippines' capital Manila is the only other ASEAN capital yet to join the agreement, although the country has already removed restrictions on flights to other cities.

Aviation law academic Alan Tan of the National University of Singapore told The Straits Times that Indonesia's agreement is "very significant".

He said: "It signals Indonesia's desire to liberalise market access into its cities and to support the ASEAN single aviation market ambition."

ASEAN transport ministers began the push for liberalisation in the air travel sector in an effort to boost trade and tourism, setting a deadline for unlimited flights within the region by the end of next year.

If the move goes ahead, it would mean, for example, that Singapore Airlines could fly to any part of the region as often as it wants - without any flight restrictions - as long as it believes there is demand and it can get landing slots from airports.

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