The reopening of travel is a much anticipated and welcome decision. For almost two years, routes have been severely affected by border restrictions. This summer, global air travel was only half of its pre-pandemic level. The Asean region suffered a 98% drop in international travel from 2019 levels.
Not only has the reduction in air travel had a huge impact on tourism, it has also had a huge impact on our lives, impoverishing businesses and workers, hampering people-to-people relationships, leaving Changi Airport and airports of Paris deserts. The 11,000 km separating our two countries have never felt so real as in the past 18 months.
Fortunately, our two governments reacted quickly. With the “Emerging Stronger Taskforce” and the French recovery plan, we have helped airlines survive.
In the coming months, thanks to mass vaccination, we hope that air traffic will gradually recover and expand from domestic flights to regional and interregional flights. The economic recovery is underway, but it will not be complete without a recovery in air transport.
By providing masks and vaccines around the world, aviation has played a vital role in this crisis. By keeping supply chains moving, facilitating people-to-people exchanges, contributing to global economic development, it will play a vital role in the post-crisis world.
We have to adapt air traffic to this “new world”, and we have to do it in a harmonized way.
Based on overall vaccination rates, non-quarantine programs (and not testing programs) such as Vaccinated Travel Lanes could be expanded over time to larger areas, especially across South Asia. -East. The principles of proportionality and reciprocity will be at the heart of these new connections.
We also need to make boarding as easy as before. Going from Singapore to Jakarta, Bali, Bintan, Hanoi or Saigon was once so easy: you have to rediscover the pleasure of boarding the Jewel at Changi journeys without any hassle – this is why we must ensure the international interoperability of vaccination. certificates.
The recovery of air transport must be not only safe, but also green. COP26 in Glasgow is a month away and the next ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) General Assembly in a year: these are unique opportunities to make the airline industry greener.
In Europe, the “Fitfor55” package aims to reduce our emissions by 55% by 2030, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve zero carbon flight, we must promote the use of carbon fuels. ‘sustainable aviation and fostering innovation. This is what France is doing: we are investing billions of dollars in green hydrogen and developing hybrid, electric and lighter planes.
During my stay in Singapore, I hope to see more closely the many forms of cooperation between French and Singaporean companies on green technologies: Through their partnership with Airlab, for example, Thales and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore are exploring new air traffic management technology concepts.
Partnerships are essential. They were before the pandemic, and they will be even more so after. The partnership between France and the European Union on the one hand, and that between Singapore and ASEAN on the other hand, are essential for air links. The conclusion of the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement in June was a big step forward. The recently released EU cooperation strategy in the Indo-Pacific reaffirms the two regions’ connectivity partnership. France will make the EU’s strategy for Indo-Pacific cooperation one of the priorities of its presidency of the Council of the European Union, which starts next year.
I am excited to spend the next few days in Singapore and look forward to strengthening the relationship between our two countries.
- Mr. Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transport, is in Singapore today and tomorrow, during which he will meet with Minister of Transport S. Iswaran and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sim Ann to discuss a greater cooperation in the air, land and maritime fields. transport.