India, Hong Kong end deadlock over air services trafic rights

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) India and Hong Kong have signed an agreement on air services traffic rights that allows each side to operate 27 new flights.

The agreement, which ended a long-standing dispute over the issue, was signed after two days of talks here on December 17-18, a Civil Aviation release said today.

The agreement permits Indian airlines to operate 27 services to Hong Kong from any point in India.

On their part, the Hong Kong carriers can operate 10 services to Delhi, six services to Mumbai and 11 services altogether to Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta.

Chennai was added as a new point of call for Hong Kong during the talks.

An agreement was also reached on the exercise of fifth freedom beyond traffic rights.

Of the 27 services, the Indian carriers will be able to operate 14 services to West Coast North America, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.

Reciprocally, the Hong Kong carrier can exercise beyond fifth freedom rights through India on 14 services to Europe, excluding the UK.

The two sides also entered into a liberalised code share agreement, which will enable the airlines of the two sides to code share through their respective territories to any beyond point either with each other's carrier or with a third country carrier.

Indian carriers are already looking at serving New Zealand through code share over Hong Kong with Air New Zealand.

With this agreement, there will be greater competition on the India-Hong Kong route and the direct services between the two countries are set to increase.

This will be in the overall interest of the traveling people and growth of trade and tourism, the release said.

UNI

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