28 January 2007

Regional Air Services Agreements from the Caribbean and the South Pacific

Late last year I was searching the web, with somewhat mixed success, for the full texts in English of regional air services agreements.

Published last year on the CARICOM Law web site is the full text of the 1996 Multilateral Agreement Concerning the Operation of Air Services in the Caribbean Community which entered into force on 17 November 1998 following ratification by eight countries. The parties are Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts/Nevis, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

A similar regional air services agreement in my region is the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) negotiated at meetings I attended in Nadi, Fiji and Vava'u, Tonga, with facilitation by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (the Secretariat's web site has recently be revamped and now has an Aviation page). The PIASA has yet to come into force, with the Secretariat announcing on 13 November 2006 that ratification by two more Pacific Island countries is needed to give the required six. So far it has been ratified by the Cook Islands, Nauru, Samoa and Tonga - Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are signatories but have yet to ratify. To date Fiji has publicly indicated that it does not intend to become a party, favouring bilateral air services arrangements instead.

The most notable regional air services arrangements are those covering the European Union and some neighbouring states but others exist in South East Asia, South America and Africa.

The MALIAT, which governs the air services arrangements between a number of Pacific Rim and South Pacific countries, including New Zealand, is not really a regional agreement as it is open to membership by any country around the world (and APEC member, Taiwan).

A comprehensive 2004 research report, Preparing ASEAN for Open Sky by Peter Forsyth, John King, Cherry Lyn Rodolfo and Keith Trace, summarises many of these regional air services agreements.

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