Asian airlines cry foul over curbs on access to gateways
ASIAN Airlines including Cathay Pacific are crying foul over their landing rights at US airports, complaining that US carriers are favoured on transpacific flights by enjoying greater access.
The complaint, issued in a formal statement yesterday by the 15-member Orient Airlines Association (OAA), centres on access to gateways, the aviation industry term for the right to fly to a particular airport in another country.
As a group, US carriers have gateway rights into 21 American cities, while the OAA carriers are allowed into only nine.
Nations negotiate gateway rights on a bilateral basis, but the OAA says it is time for a review.
''The majority of US-Asia bilaterals were negotiated in the 1950s and 1960s, and no longer provide an acceptable balance of frequency allocation and gateway accessibility,'' the OAA said.
''Despite exceptionally high standards of passenger service and the lower cost base of most OAA carriers, the distorting effect of many current bilaterals ensures that US carriers enjoy a substantial market share advantage on transpacific services.'' OAA chairman Khun Chatrachai Bunya-Ananta said: ''I want to make it quite clear that the OAA is no longer willing to accept the long-term imposition of inequitable bilateral agreements which disadvantage member airlines and the passengers they serve.
''I urge Asian government negotiators to establish new, fairer agreements which provide a level Besides Cathay Pacific, which has gateway rights only to Los Angeles, the other members of OAA are Air New Zealand, Air Niugini, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.