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Singapore concludes two-year chairmanship of ASEAN air transport working group

48th ASEAN Air Transport Working Group and Related Meetings

ASEAN Member States adopt a 10-year action plan, ASAAP, to drive sustainable growth in aviation, focusing on fuel efficiency and decarbonization.

ASEAN Member States have agreed to adopt a 10-year action plan to make the aviation sector more sustainable as demand for air travel in the region rebounds strongly after the COVID-19 pandemic. The ASEAN Sustainable Aviation Action Plan (ASAAP) will drive sustainable aviation growth in the ASEAN region, through the sharing of best practices, capacity building, information exchange and collaboration, starting with the production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has developed the ASAAP, in close consultation with other ASEAN Member States, Dialogue Partners, and industry experts. The Action Plan will be tabled for adoption at the 29th ASEAN Transport Ministers meeting to be held from 7 to 10 November 2023.

ASEAN has elevated sustainable aviation as a new area of priority under Singapore’s two-year Chairmanship of the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group (ATWG). In 2022 and 2023, CAAS organized four Sustainability Forums covering various topics, including policies, production pathways and feedstock studies for SAF, airport decarbonization, aviation decarbonization efforts by ASEAN Dialogue Partners and the industry, and international aviation decarbonization policies and initiatives respectively.

From 2 to 6 October 2023, CAAS hosted the 48th ATWG meeting, which concluded Singapore’s two-year Chairmanship. In addition to ASAAP, under Singapore’s Chairmanship, ASEAN Member States worked together to sustain air travel during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, boost connectivity, enhance capacity and incorporate new technology to support future growth of air travel.

Sustaining Air Travel

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ATWG under Singapore’s Chairmanship, developed a single point of reference document and published it on the ASEAN Secretariat website for all ASEAN Member States to regularly update their national measures for international air travellers including entry requirements. This was a helpful source of information for the traveling public

Boosting Connectivity

In October 2022, ASEAN and the European Union (EU) signed the ASEAN- EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA). The CATA is the world’s first bloc-to-bloc air services agreement and serves as a platform for structured collaboration between ASEAN and the EU on both technical and economic issues. The 1st ASEAN – EU Pro Tem Committee Meeting was organised in conjunction with the 48th ATWG meeting to discuss the implementation of the CATA.

ASEAN also deepened and broadened relationships with its other Dialogue Partners on civil aviation issues. A major milestone was achieved in September 2023, when ASEAN, led by Cambodia as ASEAN’s lead country for engagements with New Zealand, concluded negotiations on an ASEAN- New Zealand Air Services Agreement.

Building Capacity

The ASEAN Air Navigation Service (ANS) Master Plan was reviewed and updated, including putting in place key enablers for realizing future concepts such as Trajectory Based Operations (TBO), to enhance air traffic management efficiency and capacity through a Seamless ASEAN Sky. The updated Master Plan will be submitted to the ASEAN Transport Ministers for adoption in November 2023.

Incorporating Technology

In view of the growing adoption of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), ASEAN Member States also agreed to collaborate on facilitating the safe and responsible use of UAS. To support this initiative, ASEAN Member States have agreed to share information on their UAS regulations and best practices as an initial step. This would enable ASEAN Member States to collectively advance the development of their respective UAS regulatory frameworks.

The Chairmanship of the ATWG is rotated amongst ASEAN Member States on a biennial basis, with Singapore as Chair of the ATWG for 2022 and 2023. Singapore will hand over the Chairmanship to Thailand from 2024.

Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General, CAAS, said, “Singapore is honoured to be able to work with fellow ASEAN Member States to help the aviation sector tide over the COVID-19 pandemic and to reconnect and support the region for future growth. As air travel rebounds strongly, ASEAN has elevated sustainable aviation as a new area of priority. The ASEAN Sustainable Aviation Action Plan provides a framework for ASEAN Member States to collaborate on this, taking into account the region’s context and circumstances and in a way that balances growth and sustainability.”

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.