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All Mainland Airports to Accept HK Airlines

The central government is planning to grant Hong Kong airlines traffic rights, especially for cargo planes, over all airports in China's mainland, according to the General Administration of Civil Aviation, China News Service reported.


"We are expecting all Hong Kong airlines to share the profits of the mainland's huge air market," Yang Yuanyuan, director of the administration, told Hong Kong Wen Wei Po yesterday. "We are trying to open all airports to Hong Kong airlines in one move. We hope Hong Kong will follow suit with the principle and will share the mutual benefits and grant traffic rights to all mainland airlines."


Development of the Hong Kong air industry has slowed down these past few years as more mainland passengers choose the fast developing international airlines of the mainland, instead of traveling via Hong Kong. The central government has granted Hong Kong air traffic rights over 45 mainland airports so far, to boost its air industry, according to the report.


Yang specifically mentioned that the mainland will grant the beyond rights to Hong Kong's cargo aircrafts. Beyond rights, also called the "fifth freedom", are an airline's rights to fly from one country and to land in a second country, then to embark passengers or cargo and to fly on to a third country which is the destination.


After beyond rights are granted, Hong Kong freighters will fly to destinations directly from mainland airports where they are loaded with cargo. Currently all cargo earmarked for Hong Kong flights is transported to Hong Kong by other means which invokes immense costs.


(Shanghai Daily March 14, 2006)


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