[photopress:air_hong_kong.jpg,full,alignright]Hong Kong and mainland China have agreed to relax a large number of restrictions on aviation services which will allow carriers such as Air China and Cathay Pacific expand flights and cargo services.
Asian airlines are keen for access to booming Chinese cargo and passenger business, a pivotal reason behind Cathay’s tie-up with Air China last year and Singapore Airlines’ pending acquisition of 24% of China Eastern.
Hong Kong and mainland China have agreed to scrap restrictions on the number of all-cargo services from the end of October 2008, including services to and from Beijing and Shanghai.
On passenger services, airlines would be allowed to operate without any capacity restrictions on 49 routes, which is 14 more than at present, from the summer of next year.
The Hong Kong government said the agreement will strengthen the status of Hong Kong as an international and regional aviation hub.
Understandably, Cathay Pacific welcomed the agreement.
The proposed memorandum of understanding covers other initiatives, including letting more airlines ply more routes, but restrictions in general will be relaxed more gradually for the busiest destinations: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, the tourist hotspot of Kunming, Chengdu in the southwest and Dalian in the northeast.
Source: CargoNews Asia