PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): The 27th Asean Transport Ministers’ Meeting (ATM) agreed to strengthen air transport cooperation with dialogue partners such as South Korea, Japan, China, the US, New Zealand and the EU, for economic restoration after the Covid-19 crisis, Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya told The Post on Sunday (Nov 14).
The 27th ATM agreed to urge the relevant working groups to continue working towards securing an aviation service agreement (ASA) with New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, which strengthens air connectivity between Asean and dialogue partners, and provides mutual benefits and greater freedoms, Sorya said.
He said Asean welcomed the adoption of the draft 2021-2025 Action Programme of the Revised Strategic Plan for Asean-China Transport Cooperation, and tasked Prime Minister Hun Sen with strengthening coordination with China to effectively implement a number of cooperation projects.
Asean noted that talks on the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA) successfully concluded on June 2 at the Extraordinary Asean-EU Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and is due to be signed soon to strengthen air connectivity between the two blocs, and provide further socio-economic benefits, he said.
And Asean looks forward to the adoption of the Terms of Reference (TOR) and the Work Plan for Asean-US Transport Cooperation at the 1st Asean-US Transport Officials Dialogue (Asean-US STOD) in 2022, which will enhance and deepen Asean-US shipping cooperation, by supporting the Kuala Lumpur Strategic Transport Plan (KLTSP) 2016-2025 and strengthening mutually beneficial strategic partnerships, he added.
“Air transport has brought a lot of revenue to the socio-economic ecosystem, because the aviation sector is strong due to tourism, but due to Covid-19, it’s all gone downhill,” Sorya said, voicing optimism for the future of air and maritime connectivity among Asean and partner countries.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy noted that the Kingdom organised the transport meetings, which he said would provide a boost to the transport sector – including air, land, waterways and railways – in the post-Covid era.
On the other hand, he stressed that Cambodia must develop self-reliance and be more proactive in building up its transportation system, especially aviation.
“Air transport not only carries cargoes but also moves tourists. It provides comfort and convenience to holidaymakers from distant regions and provides connections with the Asean Community,” Vandy said.
Land transportation must also be planned with a strong competitive edge for the future in mind, he added.
Hosted by Cambodia, the 27th ATM was held virtually on Nov 11 and the 52nd Asean Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) and Related Dialogue Partners Meetings were held from Nov 2-3.