Airlines should push for regional aviation regulator: AirAsia boss

By Today Online
15 May, 2016
As appeared in todayonline

Airlines in South-east Asia should band together and push for a regional aviation regulator to be set up which will ensure common standards and set ASEAN on its path of achieving a single aviation market, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said.

Mr Fernandes, who had previously called for a regional regulator, yesterday called for airlines to push for it. “If you let the bureaucrats do it, it will never happen. So, all airline must join hands to call for one regulator, adopting the European model for respective national regulators and ASEAN regulator to exist concurrently,” Mr Fernandes told TODAY on the sidelines of an ASEAN Business Club conference on regional integration.

With greater standardisation, ASEAN will be on its way to achieve a fully integrated and liberalised aviation market, which is still far from reality.

ASEAN had set itself an ambitious target of economic integration by the end of the year. Under the ASEAN Economic Community framework, the region is moving towards a single aviation market through an open skies policy, which would seek to harmonise the varying trade regulations of the 10 member states with the aim of higher efficiency, better connectivity and cheaper fares.

Speaking on a discussion panel, Mr Vinoop Goel, regional director of airport passenger cargo and security (Asia Pacific) at the International Air Transport Association, said having a regional regulator is “not about giving up sovereignty”. “EU (European Union) is the best example and institutions there have more political clout unlike ASEAN today,” he said.

“Unless the industry comes together, getting standardisation across ASEAN skies is too far off,” he said. Key issues such as pilot mobility and lack of mutual recognition of safety standards by member nations can be addressed with a centralised body.”