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UAE & Singapore agree open skies

The UAE and Singapore have signed an open skies deal, which will pave the way for more services between the two countries.

The UAE and Singapore have signed an open skies deal, which will pave the way for more services between the two countries. The deal will allow each nation’s airlines to use the other’s airports without restrictions in a move that could lead to extra competition for Singapore Airlines. UAE airlines will also be able to use Singapore as a stopping off points for flights into Asia and Australiasia.

Singapore's Changi Airport has been loosing its status as a regional hub for Asia, with Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur stealing traffic, and longer-range aircraft allowing airlines to fly over the region altogether. The Singaporean government has also said that Changi needs to cut costs by 10-15% to stay attractive.

The new UAE pact allows the city state to tap into Dubai International’s traffic growth, which averaged 11.4% between 1993 and 2002 more than double the rate of growth recorded at Changi.

"We can't stop them from growing so we might as well see how we can leverage from their growth to benefit Changi," Singapore's Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong told Reuters.

The Singapore-Dubai route is already well served. Singapore Airlines operates 28 passenger flights and 54 freighter flights each week, while Emirates has 72 weekly passenger flights and two weekly freighter flights. However, the UAE’s other national carriers, Air Arabia, Etihad and Gulf Air, are all now able to launch services to Singapore as well, which could lead to intense competition on the route.

"If all four carriers of UAE fly to Changi that will provide more competition to Singapore Airlines to improve themselves further," said Yeo.

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