Memorandum of Understanding on Expansion of Air Linkages
Ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand air links and strengthen air services within the subregion on 12 January 2007 in Cebu City, Philippines.
The MOU was signed by Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam; Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Indonesia; Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia; and Leandro R. Mendoza, Secretary, Department of Transportation and Communications, Philippines.
Considered a landmark deal even within ASEAN, the MOU provided, among others, for the grant of fifth freedom traffic rights to 13 major BIMP-EAGA airports. These are Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam; Manado, Balikpapan, Tarakan and Pontianak in Indonesia; Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Labuan and Miri in Malaysia; and Davao, Zamboanga, General Santos and Puerto Princesa in the Philippines. Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to stop in a country other than its own and pick up passengers before flying to another destination or country.
The ministers envisioned the MOU would result in greater accessibility and movement of people within the subregion, attract investors, and spur intra-regional trade and tourism.
Under the deal, the ministers committed to accelerate the development of air linkages between and among the designated points within BIMP-EAGA, and to pursue intra-regional cooperation; harmonize rules and procedures and to facilitate the movement of people, mail, and cargo; exchange pertinent information to strengthen aviation database for BIMP-EAGA on a regular basis; undertake programs and projects that will ensure aviation safety and security; identify and prioritize other programs and projects needed to further develop air linkages; and promote the acceleration of air services within the subregion.