[photopress:air_jet_airways_12.jpg,full,alignright] Jet Airways can fly from Mumbai to San Francisco via Shanghai. India and China have now allowed airlines of both sides to fly to ‘beyond points’. Now airlines of both sides can fly on to a maximum of two cities each in three regions.
India has asked for three regions for its airlines to fly to and from with a halt in China. They are Canada-US; Australia-New Zealand and Asia. China has asked for – Africa, Middle-East (including Gulf) and Europe – as the three regions for its carriers.
A statement issued by the aviation ministry said, ‘However, the intermediate points and beyond points and the exercise of traffic rights to/from these points shall be agreed upon by the two aeronautical authorities of the two countries.’
‘It has been agreed that the designated airlines of India may operate beyond China to San Francisco with full fifth freedom traffic rights. The Chinese side shall be allowed to nominate a beyond point in India with full fifth freedom traffic rights, at their discretion at a later date. Airlines of each country shall be entitled to exercise beyond fifth freedom traffic rights on not more than 14 frequencies to all the beyond points put together.’
The key to this is the phrase fifth freedom which is bandied around in the aviation industry – often by people who do not know even roughly what they are talking about.
For the record, he said pontifically, there are nine freedoms which affect aviation.
First freedom is the right to overfly a country without landing. Some countries in the past have refused this which has led to some very strange and long routings. But that was during the Cold War. Now it is almost universal, although most countries require prior notification before an overflight and some countries refuse some countries in moments of pique.
[photopress:air_irish_coffee.jpg,full,alignleft] Second freedom is the right to stop in a country for refueling or maintenance on the way to another, without transferring passengers or cargo. In the early days this was important and Shannon Airport was used by almost all transatlantic flights to refuel. (It is also the reason Irish coffee was invented by Joseph Sheridan in the 1940s was to wake up passengers who were waiting in Shannon airport – a damned miserable place at the time – while the plane was being refuelled. These rights are still widely used by air cargo carriers.
Third freedom which, to help matters along, was known for a time as the First Commercial Freedom. This is the right to carry passengers or cargo from one’s own country to another. So when Air China uplifts a load of local passengers and goods and flies them to Bangkok – as an example – it is exercising its third freedom rights.
Fourth freedom is the right to carry passengers or cargo from another country to one’s own and is, as it were, the reverse half of the third freedom. They are normally negotiated simultaneously.
Fifth freedom is where the fun starts. This is the right to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country, and from that country to a third country. An example of this could be China Airlines flights starting in Beijing, flying to Bangkok and then on to, say, Dubai. And tickets can be sold on any or all sectors.
This is complex so there are two sub-categories in existence:
Beyond Fifth Freedom allows the right to carry passengers from the second country to the third country.
Intermediate Fifth Freedom allows the right to carry passengers from the third to the second country.
You might think none of this important but to an airline it is what life is about. All the fuss about open skies and what have you is caused by the exercising of Fifth Freedom rights. Contentious to say so but pretty much all the problems in this area have been cause by airlines from the United States.
Sixth freedom is the right to carry passengers or cargo from a second country to a third country by stopping in one’s own country. In Asia this is very common as it is on the route from Europe to Australia and beyond. Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and other airlines in Asia use sixth-freedom rights extensively on this route. In the same way British Airways will tickets passenger from America to Asia via London. And so on.
Seventh freedom is the right to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries without continuing service to one’s own country. You simply would never give seventh freedom rights away unless you did not have a carrier of your own. The exception is Europe where there is an EU open sky policy. And now the United Kingdom and Singapore have agreed to unlimited seventh freedom rights.
Eighth freedom is the right to carry passengers or cargo within a foreign country with continuing service to or from one’s own country. This is extremely rare and sometimes goes under the name of Cabotage. Yes, it does exist in the European Union and between Australia and New Zealand but you are scratching for other examples.
Ninth freedom is the right to carry passengers or cargo within a foreign country without continuing service to or from one’s own country whih is also known as Stand Alone Cabotage. It does exist. Example is Malaysia’s Air Asia selling domestic flights inside Thailand. The EU agreements also allow ninth freedom flights.
All of which may sound a tad boring and technical but, in a sense, it is what has allowed the airline industry to develop and, in another sense, prevented its full development.
Source: SiloBreaker and research.