A NEW air services agreement with the Philippines is the last remaining one to be secured before the handover of Hong Kong to China.
Nineteen agreements have been secured to date, and although approval from the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) is still needed for several of them, the Philippine deal is the last that needs to be drawn up in order for flights to continue.
Air services agreements are a prerequisite for flights between countries, and normally specify routes to be operated, airlines designated to fly them, the capacity each side may provide and the tariffs to be charged.
They often come with confidential memorandums of understanding, which are more restrictive than the published accords and the details of which are kept secret.
The JLG has so far signed full agreements with Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
Seven more have been initialled by negotiators but are awaiting JLG approval. China has 'agreed in principle' to deals with Singapore and South Korea.