GENTING HIGHLANDS: The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASAM) policy enables the region to have greater bargaining power to negotiate the liberalisation of air travel with China, Japan and South Korea.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the open skies policy was aimed at consolidating ASEAN's strength to boost the aviation industry.
"Liberalising air travel enables airline companies to better plan their routes and flight frequencies," he said after closing the Bentong Wanita MCA as well as Petaling Jaya Utara and Petaling Jaya Selatan divisions' cadre training and brainstorming camps here yesterday.
Currently, commercial airplanes are only able to fly from their home base to one foreign destination.
"They cannot take any transit passengers and continue with the journey to another destination.
"There are a lot of limitations now, that's why we need to continue to discuss making ASEAN a single aviation market, then we would have a lot of bargaining power with countries such as China, South Korea and Japan," he said.
He said the response from the 10 ASEAN countries was positive and he was optimistic that the ASAM policy would be completed by this year.
On MCA, Liow called on its leaders, especially those from the Youth and Wanita wings, to actively express their views and speak up for the people.
He said MCA stood firm in rejecting hudud and the theocratic state.
Separately in a press statement regarding LIMA, Liow said there was "significant participation and support from the commercial sector compared to previous years".
"This marks a major turning point for the exhibition, which started off primarily to promote the defence industry. Given the remarkable success of LIMA 2015, we expect commercial participation to strengthen further in LIMA 2017," he said.
Liow said this year, the Transport Ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) co-organised the inaugural ASEAN Aviation Summit in conjunction with LIMA.
"The summit has set the foundation for the upcoming ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting chaired by Malaysia at the end of this year where the Open Skies Policy will be an important discussion point," he said.
More than 200 influential government and industry players as well as experts in the aviation sector, including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), attended the summit themed "The Future Landscape of ASEAN Aviation".
Liow said the liberalisation of ASEAN's aviation sector would be a major catalyst for the economic growth of the region by 2030.