Airasia Berhad CEO Anthony Francis Fernandes urged member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to create a single Asean Aviation Authority to facilitate the integration and efficient management of their respective air carriers.
Fernandes is encouraging Asean to create a common market just like Europe “as it is difficult for the airline business to deal with 10 presidents and prime ministers.”
He added there must be effort to integrate Asean so that there will be one aviation standard.
“Put down nationalism and vested interests, if we do not get together against big giants China and India, it will give us much better chance to compete against the world,” Fernandes said.
Fernandes said China’s Alibaba, without constraints from their government, would compete with Asean if the 10 members are not able to create a similar big conglomerate.
He said Asean has a population of 600 million to 700 million inhabitants, and the region could be made smaller “with airlines that fly to all Asean countries.”
“It is relevant to increase connectivity within the region and to increase cultural ties among Asean people,” he added, saying it would enable its inhabitants to contribute to inter-regional tourism.
He said in 2016, there were 116 million visitors to the Asean, of which 50 million were intra- Asean and 43 percent were from outside Asean.
“I am optimistic there will be 121 million visitors [this year], and we must be able to create more routes not reached by others before,” Fernandes said.