News #204: The Future Southeast Asia Newsletter

ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, Iloilo monorail, over 1,000km of railways in the pipeline for the Philippines, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport will handle 150m passengers a year, and more

The Future Southeast Asia Newsletter features transport and urban development news in Southeast Asia, edited by James Clark.

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Future Southeast Asia Newsletter!

This week there was a news update about a transit system in provincial Thailand (scroll down to see where). I have been making profile pages for every proposed transit system in Southeast Asia (here is the full list), and this week’s main article is about a monorail system in the Philippines.

Before we get to that, here is some site news.

Newsletter news

I have mentioned over the last month that this newsletter is moving from Substack to Beehiiv (the services that send emails). I moved the newsletter this week, and this is the first newsletter on the Beehiiv platform.

It should be business as usual for most subscribers, but there is a chance that emails might not go to your main inbox.

You can help the deliverability of this newsletter by clicking on links, replying to the email, or clicking the “Read Online” link to leave a comment on the online version.

I will update you about the move next week once I make sure the newsletter is in working order.

2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit

I’m back in Australia this month, and the leaders of Southeast Asia have followed me here for the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

Traffic was gridlocked in parts of Melbourne yesterday when the streets were blocked for presidential and prime ministerial motorcades.

These summits are mainly political so they are outside of the wheelhouse of Future Southeast Asia, though I do check to see if there are any big infrastructure announcements.

You wouldn’t come to Australia looking for advice on how to build railways, but Australia’s development program (Aus Aid) has contributed to some big infrastructure projects. The My Thuan Bridge (the first bridge constructed across the Mekong River in Vietnam) and the First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge are two Australian-funded projects in the region.

Australia and Laos elevated bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership, collaborating on “defense, environment, climate, clean energy, agriculture and education”. We shall see if any new infrastructure projects arise.

In travel news, Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called for Australian airlines to establish routes to Vietnam. There are currently 3 airlines serving SGN-MEL (Vietnam Airlines, VietJet, and Jetstar) and there were 4 when Bamboo Airways was operating long-haul flights. I flew with Jetstar back to Melbourne and the flight was full, so it’s remarkable how much the Australia-Vietnam travel market has grown. My prediction is that there will be direct flights from Danang to Australia.

The above article mentions the 30th anniversary of Vietnam-Melbounre flights. The first post-war flight was in December 1990, and Mark Bowyer from Rusty Compass was on the first flight from SYD to SGN.

“It's the biggest meeting of world leaders in Australia in five years. So what is the ASEAN-Australia summit?”

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Latest posts at Future Southeast Asia

The Iloilo Monorail is a proposed transit system in Iloilo City on the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.


🇰🇭 Cambodia

🇮🇩 Indonesia

🇱🇦 Laos

🇲🇾 Malaysia

🇵🇭 Philippines

“Also in the pipeline are the North Long Haul, the South Long Haul, the Panay Railway, North Mindanao Railway, and San Mateo Railway, which Macapagal said span a total of 1,024 kilometers.”

“Manila’s pivot to Beijing during the previous administration yielded more than a dozen infrastructure deals, but most of them remain mired in delays and protests. Insight examines the obstacles and what it will take to revive these projects.”

🇸🇬 Singapore

🇹🇭 Thailand

“PM Srettha says Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport will handle 150m passengers a year.”

"A feasibility study on the 4.4 kilometres long project has been completed. Construction is expected to take about 2 years, requiring an investment of 650 million baht, with the service opening in 2027."

“…the three projects are the Grey Line (Watcharaphon-Thong Lor), Light Blue Line (Din Daeng-Sathon) and Silver Line (Bang Na-Suvarnabhumi).’

🇻🇳 Vietnam

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