US carriers get right to launch new SAR flights
The United States Department of Transport has given five of its carriers interim authority to launch new flights from Hong Kong to other regional markets.
Four cargo airlines - Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), Polar Air Cargo and Northwest Airlines - were granted the right to offer 19 new fifth-freedom services from Chek Lap Kok.
For passenger services, United Airlines has also been allowed to begin operating a second daily flight between Tokyo and Hong Kong from April 6.
The new flights, which allow the carriers to pick up and drop off cargo and passengers in Hong Kong en route to a third destination, were made possible through the expanded air services agreement signed by the two sides last month after more than three years of negotiations.
The deal allowed the department to award 24 additional cargo fifth-freedom services to US carriers immediately. Another 32 flights will be on offer over the next two years.
Applications from four other cargo airlines - Air Transport International, Atlas Air, Evergreen International Airlines, and Kalitta Air - for similar rights are pending approval.
The deal's biggest winner is UPS, which will now offer six weekly flights between Hong Kong and its Asian hub at Clark Air Base in the Philippines.
FedEx plans to use its rights to offer two additional weekly flights to Subic Bay, in the Philippines. Also, it plans to add two weekly frequencies to Seoul and Manila, respectively.
Polar Air will add two weekly flights to its Seoul route and two weekly flights to Manila.
Northwest will start three weekly flights between Manila and Hong Kong.
The four cargo carriers are expected to launch their new services in January.