Bali, 18 October 2022 (TDI): Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) have signed a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA).

The agreement is between the member states of ASEAN and EU during the 28th ASEA-EU transport ministers held at Bali, Indonesia on 17 October 2022.

This block-to-block Air Transport Agreement is the first of its kind and will open opportunities to a lot of people living in EU and ASEAN member states.

The CATA marks the world’s first open skies agreements between two big economic blocks and sets a significant milestone in the history of aviation, ASEAN Sectary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said.

Jock Hoi further said that ASEAN-EU CATA will strengthen air transport services, and will connect people, and businesses across the continents. This agreement will also ensure the sustainable growth of aviation.

The agreement will provide greater opportunity for airlines of both regions to operate between and beyond both regions and will recover the aviation industry affected during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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People in Europe and South-East Asia will have more variety of destinations and options. The ASEAN-EU CATA will further lay down the foundation for cooperation in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, tourism, and environmental and social matters.

Alongside the CATA, both regional organizations have signed the Record of Statements Made on the occasion on which the ASEAN-EU CATA signed.

European Commissioner for Transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean said that CATA will take our aviation partnership to a new level. It will benefit 1.1 billion people in both regions by enabling tourism, business, trade, and people-to-people exchanges.

She further added that it replaces 140 bilateral air service agreements, thereby providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape.

Budi Karya, Minister for Transportation of Indonesia and Chair of the 28th ASEAN transport meeting also emphasized CATA’s importance.

It will enhance cooperation between both regions to accelerate economic recovery and revivify the global economy, particularly of ASEAN and EU.

Likewise, Martin Kupka, Minister for Transport of the Czech Republic, and S Iswaran,  Minister for Transport and Trade of Singapore also talked about CATA.

They said that this agreement is a landmark achievement for the member states of both regions and will help not only to bolster the aviation industry but also the economy in both regions.

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In 2016, the EU-ASEAN aviation agreement was authorized by the council, and negotiations were finalized in June 2021.

EU CATA has been signed with other partner countries, namely the US, Qatar, Canada, Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova, Israel, Ukraine, and Armenia.

A statement released by the EU in ASEAN further stated that this agreement will undergo a ratification process according to the respective procedure.