On 7 June 2016, the Council authorised the Commission to enter into comprehensive air transport negotiations with ASEAN. The future EU-ASEAN Comprehensive Air Services Agreement (CATA) will be the first block-to-block air transport agreement and will cover market access and cover a wide range of areas (safety, security, air traffic management, social protection, consumers and environment, fair competition, etc.) which should gradually lead to regulatory convergence. Negotiations are ongoing. On 17 August 2009, the EU initialled a horizontal aviation agreement with Indonesia. This agreement allows any EU airline to operate flights between Indonesia and any EU Member State in which it is established and where there is a bilateral agreement with Indonesia and where traffic rights are available. It does not replace bilateral agreements, but adapts them to bring them into line with EU law. This is an important step in the traditional introduction of air transport on the basis of nationality restrictions and complements the EU`s internal aviation market externally. In an interview with Routesonline at the Paris Air Show 2019, the European Commission`s Director-General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei (pictured right), confirmed that 37 of the 38 EU and ASEAN countries concerned already agreed. He said an open ski deal was now a matter of « when » and not « if. » The plan was for all ASEAN airlines to enjoy unlimited third, fourth and fifth freedom operations in the region. However, after the deadline of early 2016 expired, three ASEAN members – the Philippines, Indonesia and Laos – are reluctant to ratify the full agreement. At present, Indonesia remains opposed to opening up its secondary cities, the Philippines has excluded Manila from the deal, and Laos has yet to liberate Luang Prabang and Vientiane, the national capital.
 ASEAN`s air transport market policy will replace existing bilateral and multilateral air services agreements between Member States which are incompatible with their provisions. The ASEAN Air Transport Market (ASEAN-SAM), also known as the ASEAN Open Sky/Policy Agreement, is the most important aviation policy in the region. It aims to develop a single and unified air transport market between ASEAN members in Southeast Asia, which is expected to start on 1 January 2015, although not all agreements have been signed.  The air transport policy was proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting and endorsed by ASEAN Ministers of Transport.  The establishment of ASEAN-SAM was an important element of the roadmap for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community.  The upcoming agreement with ASEAN comes just weeks after the European Commission initialled an aviation pact with Qatar, the first such agreement between the EU and a country in the Gulf region. . . .