Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Burma are studying ways to increase their cooperation in air transport services in hopes of promoting more frequent flights among the four countries.
A Cambodian civil aviation official on Sunday said the sub-regional cooperation would ultimately reduce bureaucratic paperwork, allowing airlines more quickly to start up international flight services within the region.
“Our goal is to promote more flights among the four countries,” said an official of the Cambodian Civil Aviation State Secretariat, who asked not to be named.
The regional group also studied reducing airport taxes for passengers within the member countries, said Thach Ouk, commercial executive of the Royal Air Cambodge.
Starting in Vietnam in 1998, regional civil aviation officials have gathered at an annual conference every year to discuss the possible cooperation. This year Phnom Penh hosted the three-day conference, which ended Saturday.
During the conference, the sub-regional group drafted a memorandum of understanding on how the four countries would work together to simplify the current time-consuming approval process and to provide better services for airlines and their customers. The memorandum will soon be signed by the member states, the Cambodian official said.
Currently, he said, airlines wishing to start international flights must obtain permission on routing from civil aviation authorities of all countries involved in the flight. Authorities then examine application information on the route, type of aircraft, passenger capacity and flight schedule. This process takes several months in each country in which the airline operates.
The planned flight routing approval process, officials said, is expected to be simplified with a new system. Details of the planned system and other measures were not available on Sunday.
Thach Ouk said the cooperation would benefit both airline businesses and their customers.
“The more we have good cooperation, the more flight routes are extended,” he said. “They are also talking about reducing airport taxes among the four countries and reducing airfares.”
Officials said the sub-regional cooperation is a springboard to make a larger regional grouping in Asean—made up of 10 countries—in the near future.