New air service pact with mainland to ease passenger, cargo restrictions
Mainland and Hong Kong authorities have signed a new round of air service agreements under which they will gradually remove restrictions for passenger and cargo transport, state media reported.
The number of airlines operating between the two jurisdictions will be increased from next summer, the report said. Hong Kong officials will unveil details of the arrangement at a press conference today.
'The level of passenger and cargo traffic will be increased,' mainland newspaper Ta Kung Pao quoted a General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) official as saying.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed between the CAAC and Hong Kong, cargo flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Hong Kong will increase by 14 flights a week starting from summer and autumn next year, while other places of origin will have no restrictions.
For passenger flights, restrictions on the number of flights from the seven busiest mainland cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Dalian and Chengdu - to Hong Kong will be relaxed gradually starting from next summer.
Limits on flights from 49 other mainland cities will be removed completely.
Three passenger airlines and two cargo carriers will be allowed to fly to all seven established routes from next summer.
Starting from winter next year and spring 2009, four passenger airlines and three cargo carriers will be allowed to fly to the seven routes.
For other routes there will be no limitations on operator numbers.
The mainland and Hong Kong signed a similar air services arrangement last year, increasing access to major mainland commercial centres.
The arrangement, which government officials said had strengthened links between Hong Kong and the mainland, also enhanced the competitiveness of Hong Kong International Airport and strengthened Hong Kong's status as an international and regional aviation centre.