Singapore signs open skies agreement with Palau

Minister of Transport S. Iswaran (right) signed the agreement with Palau's President Surangel Whipps Jr. on Oct 3, 2022. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT

SINGAPORE – The Republic has inked an open skies agreement with the Western Pacific island nation of Palau which will allow airlines from both countries to fly between each other, and beyond to any third country.

The Ministry of Transport on Monday said that under this agreement, the airlines will be able to fly any number of passenger and cargo services.

They will also be able to operate with no restrictions on capacity, frequency, aircraft type or routing schedules.

Minister of Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran signed the agreement with Palau's President Surangel Whipps Jr.

Mr Iswaran said that the agreement demonstrates the close and growing relations between both countries.

He added: "As the aviation sector recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, this agreement reaffirms our commitment to further strengthen our connectivity to the benefit of trade, tourism, businesses and our people."

Mr Mayur Patel, head of Asia at global travel data provider OAG Aviation, said the agreement could pave the way for future links, and would help with trade talks and enhance the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, described the open skies agreement as an “interesting development” for Palau, which has a population of fewer than 20,000.

“The agreement links Changi Airport to an exotic new destination in a part of the world that’s increasingly becoming a sphere of interest amongst the superpowers,” said Mr Shukor.

Direct flights between Singapore and New Caledonia, another island situated in the Pacific Ocean, had restarted in July after a 25-year hiatus.

That same month, New Caledonia’s airline Aircalin signed a contract with Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC), a joint venture owned by Airbus and Singapore Airlines.

The deal will see Aircalin pilots train at the AATC facility in Seletar.

The open skies agreement with Palau brings the number of air services agreements Singapore has with other states and territories to more than 130. 

More than 60 of the 130 are open skies agreements with countries such as South Korea, Peru and Costa Rica.

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