HONG KONG (AFX) - Hong Kong airlines will soon be granted 'fifth-freedom rights,' allowing them to fly to other countries via cities in mainland China, in order to maintain Hong Kong's position as the region's biggest cargo and passenger hub, the Chinese-language Wen Wei Po reported, citing industry sources.
The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) plans to open the market progressively under the country's 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10) and will allow Hong Kong airlines to fly to other destinations via some cities in China, the sources said.
The sources said the move will be mutually beneficial to both Hong Kong airlines and mainland carriers, as Hong Kong can mainly explore the international market, while mainland carriers focus on domestic flights.
The sources said local carriers Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have been actively applying for fifth-freedom rights in the past few years.
Cathay Pacific will most likely be the first carrier to be granted the right to carry cargo to other countries via mainland cities, it said.