Singapore recently signed open skies agreements (OSAs) with Barbados, Brazil, Jamaica and Rwanda at the International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN 2010) held early this month in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The OSAs with Barbados and Jamaica are the first between Singapore and the Caribbean community. The air pact with Brazil comes on the heels of the Singapore-Peru OSA last year at a time when the Lion City also forged bilateral air services with Colombia and Ecuador. The agreement with Rwanda, on the other hand, is Singapore’s second with an African country. The first one was signed with Zambia in 2008.
Yap Ong Heng, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said: “Airlines operate in a challenging environment with dynamic markets. It is thus critical for countries to proactively put in place air services frameworks that enable airlines the commerical freedom to respond to market opportunities. These OSAs recognise the benefits that they can bring to airlines, the travelling public and the wider economy through increased trade, tourism and people flows.”
Currently, the city state does not have direct flight connections to Latin America and the Caribbeans. In Africa, the city’s primary carrier Singapore Airlines runs passenger services to Egypt and South Africa.
The OSAs will allow more carriers to introduce air services when market opportunities arises. Furthermore, airlines are also able to tap on traffic from and to third countries to improve the commercial viability of their operations. Direct air links with Singapore will allow businesses in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to access more markets by tapping Singapore’s well-established connectivity to the Asia-Pacific region.