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Hong Kong carriers welcome open skies pacts with mainland China, India

Hong Kong carriers welcome open skies pacts with mainland China, India

Hong Kong-based airlines welcomed recent agreements between the territory and China and India to open up their aviation markets, saying Thursday the moves would strengthen the Hong Kong's position as a regional and international hub.
Hong Kong and mainland China agreed during talks concluded Thursday to increase the number of airlines flying between the two sides and the frequency of flights, starting in the spring of 2008, a Hong Kong government statement said.
From the end of March, there will be no restrictions on the number of airlines operating on routes between Hong Kong and the mainland, except those to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Kunming and Dalian, the statement said.
From the end of July, both sides can nominate three airlines to operate passenger and cargo services on those seven popular routes, and two airlines to operate cargo-only services, it said.
At the end of October, both sides will be able to add an extra airline each to run passenger and cargo services on those routes, it said.
The two sides will also allow carriers such as Air China and Cathay Pacific to operate unlimited flights to 49 mainland destinations, instead of the current 35, from March. Frequency limits on flights to more lucrative destinations on the mainland will be relaxed gradually, the statement said.
Dragonair, part of the Cathay Pacific Group, said the agreement would provide opportunities for the carrier to grow its connectivity in mainland China. Dragonair already operates flights to 21 mainland destinations.
Hong Kong also just concluded aviation talks with India, signing an agreement Dec. 18 that increases the frequency of flights between the two sides and adds new destinations in India, including the technology hub of Bangalore and Chennai, a separate statement said.
Cathay Pacific said the agreement could see it double the number of flights it operates to New Delhi and Mumbai from the current four a week.
"We believe the agreement is a great one for passengers that will also boost Hong Kong's position as a leading international aviation hub by filling in what has been a gap in the otherwise comprehensive network of routes from Hong Kong international airport," Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said in a statement.
The agreement also allows Indian airlines to operate flights to North America via Hong Kong, and Hong Kong-based carriers to fly to Europe via India.


Updated : 2021-05-18 14:51 GMT+08:00