Singapore Updates Open Skies Agreement with the United Kingdom

29 September 2022

Key changes reflect the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU)
and affirms commitment to sustainable aviation development

         Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to update the Open Skies Agreement (OSA) between both countries. The MOU was signed by Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, and the Right Honourable Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Secretary of State for Transport of the UK, on the sidelines of the 41st International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in Montreal, Canada on 28 September 2022.

2        In 2007, Singapore and the UK concluded a landmark bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA), allowing air carriers from both countries to operate unlimited services between Singapore and the UK, and beyond, without restrictions on routing. Over the years, this agreement has enhanced connectivity between Singapore and the UK with third countries, enabling airlines the flexibility to operate combinations of points on routes, serving passengers between Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific.

3        The original OSA, which was concluded when the UK was an EU member state, permitted any EU-based airline to apply to use the traffic rights granted by Singapore to the UK. The agreement has been revised such that only UK-based airlines, i.e. airlines with their principal place of business in the UK and under the regulatory control of UK regulatory authorities, would be able to apply to operate to Singapore under the OSA. This ensures that the commercial benefits from the OSA accrue to only airlines based in both countries’ territories and continue to promote air connectivity between Singapore and the UK. All airlines with existing operating authorisations will not be affected and will remain authorised under the updated OSA.

4        The revised OSA includes environment protection as a new area of collaboration whereby both countries agree to work together to promote the sustainable development of aviation, in line with the environmental standards, initiatives, and goals adopted by ICAO. In January 2022, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) set up a Bilateral Aviation Steering Committee to exchange information and foster collaboration on emerging green technology and decarbonisation initiatives.

5        Minister Iswaran said, “Our Open Skies Agreement with the United Kingdom is one of the most liberal air services agreements that Singapore has signed to date. It has set the foundation for Singapore and London to become one of the most well-connected pairs of cities between Europe and Asia-Pacific. It had also enabled the development of direct air connectivity between Singapore and Manchester and beyond to Houston in the US. As global air traffic recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding to update our Open Skies Agreement reaffirms our commitment to promote open skies and underpins our desire to deepen our partnership in sustainable aviation development.”

About the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

The mission of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is to grow a safe, vibrant air hub and civil aviation system, making a key contribution to Singapore's success. CAAS' roles are to oversee and promote safety in the aviation industry, develop the air hub and aviation industry, provide air navigation services, provide aviation training for human resource development, and contribute to the development of international civil aviation.

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Last Updated on 31 January 2023