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Southeast Asia Looking to 'Liberate' Its Airways by 2015...What Does This Mean?

February 5, 2014 at 1:43 PM | by | ()

Will was on the ground in Kuching at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Follow along as he dishes on the latest travel news from Southeast Asia.

Many of the projects discussed at this year's Asian Tourism Forum, such as the high-speed rail between Malaysia and Singapore, are aimed at making travel between the ten member countries more fluid.

Given the great distance that has to be traveled to get to Southeast Asia, satisfying the American market means making it easy to country hop. As is the case with Europe (which is less than half the travel time for most), your average American ponying up big bucks for long flights will understandably want to see as much as they can -- or at least more than one city -- in one trip.

According to a recent study by the Pacific Asia Travel Association, as the ASEAN nations have begun to "liberate" and deregulate its airline industry (aka create competition), it has seen increases in route capacities and passenger numbers, and consequently leaps in airline revenue and job numbers.

That same study compared ASEAN's continued path of airline deregulation (which really began to pick up steam in 2004) to that of the U.S. and Europe. The bottom line is that free competition in the skies has done wonders for the latter two, offering insight into the amount of growth that could be gained in the next few years for Southeast Asia.

There are doubts that complete ASEAN deregulation will be completed by the original goal of 2015, but the movement is great news for all parties involved, and we love its potential impact of enticing more travelers from the U.S. The more routes between countries via low-cost carriers, such as Air Asia, the more attractive and doable a trip to the other side of the world becomes, especially for those on the west coast who can often find trans-pacific flights for about what they would pay to go to Europe. We'll be sure to keep an eye on things and keep you updated as plans become reality.

[Photos: Wiki]

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