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Palau opens skies

Palau President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. shakes hands with Singapore’s Minister of Transport S. Iswaran after signing ab air service agreement on Oct. 3, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Office of Palau President

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Koror-- Palau and Singapore have signed an open skies agreement that would facilitate air traffic between the two countries.

“This opens the door and airlines can begin planning and preparing to fly directly between Singapore and Palau,” Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr, said after sealing the deal with Singapore’s Minister of Transport S. Iswaran on Oct. 3.

Whipps said the air service agreement brought him one step toward his goal of making Palau a gateway for travelers between Asia and the Pacific region.

“We are delighted to sign the air services agreement and confidential memorandum of understanding on air services with Palau, which demonstrates the close and growing relations between our two countries," Iswaran said.

"As the aviation sector recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, this agreement reaffirms our commitment to further strengthen our connectivity to the benefit of trade, tourism, businesses, and our people," he added.

According to a press release from the Singapore government, the agreement "allows airlines of Singapore and Palau to operate any number of passenger and cargo services between both countries, as well as beyond to any third country, with no restrictions on capacity, frequency, aircraft type, or routing."

The Straits Times reported that direct flights between Singapore and New Caledonia restarted in July after a 25-year hiatus. That same month, New Caledonia’s airline Aircalin signed a contract with Airbus Asia Training Center, a joint venture owned by Airbus and Singapore Airlines.

Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said, “The agreement links Changi Airport to an exotic new destination in a part of the world that’s increasingly becoming a sphere of interest among the superpowers."

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