Liberalisation of air services on ASPA’s agenda

LIBERALISING air services within Pacific Island countries (PICs), promoting travel from the Pacific to international markets and mitigating climate change were some of the topics discussed at the 65th Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA) general session in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last week.

In a statement issued by ASPA secretary general George Faktaufon, the association said as far as Air Service Agreements were concerned, airlines believed that a more liberalised intra-regional air services regime within PICs would enhance connectivity and provide long-term sustainability to the regional air transport system.

“A clear example was the tripartite arrangement between Air Niugini, Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu on the Port Moresby-Honiara-Vila route that was operated by Air Niugini on code share arrangements,” ASPA said.

“The airlines agreed to closely work with each other to improve current intra-regional scheduling to ensure that where no direct links existed; direct connections are made available as far as practically possible, using the current air connectivity map provided by the secretariat.”

Another highlight of the forum was discussions on the development of unique air travel incentive designed to boost visitor numbers from non-traditional markets.

“The airlines also resolved to finalise the Visit South Pacific Pass by end of the year to be effective early 2017. The pass is intended to promote travel within the region to markets in Europe, Middle East, Asia and North America. ASPA will work closely with overseas general sales agents, global distribution systems and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation in the promotion and marketing of the pass.”

The next ASPA conference will be held in Auckland in May next year.

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