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HK Welcomes New Mainland Air Service
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The recently announced Chinese mainland--Hong Kong Air Services Arrangement has been welcomed by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA).


The AA said in a press release on Monday that the new arrangement would further strengthen Hong Kong International Airport's (HKIA) position as a leading international and regional aviation hub and a gateway to China.


With another 11 Chinese mainland cities having direct flights to Hong Kong, there are now 56 mainland cities with direct flights to the region, explained the General Administration of Civil Aviation (GACA) of China.


The GACA and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government had established the new air service, announced the administration.


David Pang, chief executive officer of the Airport Authority said, "This arrangement will further promote people and cargo flows through Hong Kong and thereby enhance HKIA's competitiveness."


He said the successful conclusion of the last arrangement for air traffic between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland in September 2004 has generated tremendous traffic growth. In 2005 passenger traffic rose 13 percent while cargo volume and flight frequency grew 35 percent and 20 percent respectively.


Furthermore, Pang expressed gratitude to the government for the newly concluded air services agreement with Mexico and the expanded arrangements with Japan and Brunei.


"We’ll continue to encourage more airlines to operate more flights to more destinations from HKIA thus providing greater variety and choice in product, service and price to the general public and business travelers,” said Pang.


"Increased air traffic will generate enormous business opportunities and economic value to the whole community,” he said. “These new arrangements will further enhance HKIA's international aviation hub status."


In a related development Cathay Pacific Airways also welcomed the new Air Services Arrangement on Monday.


"We appreciate the tremendous efforts made by the mainland and Hong Kong authorities in expanding the air services opportunities," said Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen.


The airline has applied to the HKSAR government requesting an allocation of rights to re-launch passenger flights to Shanghai, provide additional services to Beijing and to increase all-cargo operations to the mainland. This is tentatively timed for the last quarter of the year.


Dragon Air also expressed its welcome for the new arrangement saying it would bring fresh opportunities for Hong Kong airlines.


(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2006)

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