India, Hong-Kong traffic rights agreement to result in 54 new services on the route

New Delhi: After prolonged discussions, India and Hong Kong, Special Administrative RegionHong Kong SAR (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, have resolved the long-standing deadlock over the issue of bilateral traffic rights, arriving at an agreement in New Delhi on 17-18 December 2007. The new agreement will result in carriers from both sides operating 27 new services on the India-Hong Kong route.

While Indian carriers will be able to operate their 27 services from any point in India, Hong Kong carriers would operate 10 services to Delhi, 6 services to Mumbai and 11 services altogether to Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta.

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

The Indian delegation was led by RK Singh, joint secretary, ministry of civil aviation, while the Hong Kong delegation was led by Esmond Lee, deputy secretary, transport and housing bureau, Hong Kong SAR.

An agreement was also arrived at regarding fifth freedom rights, which will allow Indian carriers to operate 14 services out of 27 to the west coast of the North America, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.

Hong Kong carriers can exercise their fifth freedom rights through India by operating 14 services to Europe, excluding the UK.

The two sides have also agreed to liberalize code-share agreements, which will enable carriers on both sides to code-share through their respective territories to any point beyond, with each other's carriers or with a third country carrier.

An increase in direct services on the India-Hong Kong route is likely to result because of the new agreement.