Singapore offers Open Skies deal with Turkey

Singapore offers Open Skies deal with Turkey

SINGAPORE - Hürriyet Daily News
Singapore offers Open Skies deal with Turkey

Singapore has offered Turkey the chance to sign the Open Skies Agreement. A Singaporean minister says Turkish Airlines is very respected in Singapore and such a deal is a great advantage for both two country’s firms. DHA photo

Singapore, the home of one of the world’s leading airlines, has offered Turkey the chance to sign the Open Skies Agreement to ensure both countries’ carriers can use each other’s airports as a hub to travel to more countries.

“We practice the Open Skies Agreement in Singapore and we are looking at the same opportunity with companies in Turkey to enable Singapore Airlines to travel more to Istanbul and beyond,” Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 31.

“Turkish Airlines is very respected in Singapore. It has come a long way. It’s a great advantage for both of our companies to look at signing this kind of agreement,” Zulkifli said, adding that the move would also enhance business opportunities between the two countries.

Turkey and Singapore intensified political and economic relations in recent years after the South Asian country decided to open an embassy in Ankara in 2012. Officials from both sides are seeking ways to bolster relations as each other considers the other as a gateway – Turkey to the Central Asia and the Middle East and Singapore to South Asia.

Singapore has previously completed similar agreements with more than 120 countries, including over 50 over skies agreements.

Talks on air services are continuing, but the signing of such an agreement would take time as Turkish Airlines has concerns to be addressed, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned. Turkey is proposing to review an existing agreement on civil aviation before moving on the issue. In addition, the fact that Turkey’s Atatürk Airport in Istanbul has already exceeded its limits would make it difficult for Turkey to permit Singapore Airlines to use it as a hub.

Some 30 million international passengers used the airport in 2012, making it one of the busiest airports in the world. It is believed that Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, is hesitant about sharing passengers with another country’s carrier.

A recent agreement signed between Singapore and Uruguay provides each country’s carriers the right to use each other’s facilities as a hub to operate without restrictions in addition to cabotage rights.

Zulkifli said Singapore Airlines would like to travel beyond Istanbul via Turkey’s airport and introduce their airline’s services to Turkey’s neighbors. “We can pick up passengers from Istanbul and you can pick up passengers from Singapore.”