Passage to India enhanced
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) recently welcomed the completion of the new rounds of reviews on air services arrangements between the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region and the government of the republic of India and the general administration of civil aviation of China respectively.
These new arrangements will reinforce Hong Kong's position as a regional and international aviation centre as well as enhance access for its citizens and businesses to two of the world's fastest growing economies, according to the airport website.
This will also further liberalise the aviation market and give carriers of the mainland and Hong Kong greater flexibility to provide air services between Hong Kong and cities on the mainland. The deal with the mainland will take effect from the end of this March, while the arrangements with India come into immediate effect.
AA chairman Victor Fung said, “The new arrangements not only mark a breakthrough in connectivity between Hong Kong and India, but also help expand India's air network to the mainland and the US markets via Hong Kong. The enhanced connectivity among Hong Kong, India, the mainland and the US will contribute to the economic growth and development of these places.”
The new arrangements also include the exchange of fifth freedom rights with India, making Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) an en route stop for flights originating in India that are bound for North America. This will buttress HKIA's role as an aviation hub.
AA chief executive officer Stanley Hui said, “The new arrangements represent a major step forward in expanding air services between Hong Kong and the mainland. It will allow more carriers from the mainland and Hong Kong to provide air services on routes between Hong Kong and the mainland and offer greater capacity and frequency as well. By strengthening links between HKIA's international network and the rapidly expanding Hong Kong/mainland network of services, the new arrangements will further enhance Hong Kong's role as a regional and international aviation centre.”
From January to October last year, 277,000 passengers travelled on routes between Hong Kong and India, up three per cent from the same period in 2006, and 8.6 million passengers flew between Hong Kong and the mainland, up 9.5 per cent from 2006.
Each week, around 780 passenger flights and 60 freighter services operate between HKIA and 42 mainland destinations in each direction. HKIA is connected to Delhi and Mumbai by a total of 20 passenger flights and 20 freighter services per week in each direction.
Passenger throughput at HKIA exceeded four million in November, the largest increase for that fiscal year and a 10.0 per cent improvement on November 2006.
Hui said, “We saw robust visitor traffic in November, particularly from the mainland, North America and Europe. At our current growth rate, annual passenger volume will soon reach 50 million. HKIA is ready to meet this demand and committed to delivering top quality services and facilities.”
For the 12 months ended 30 November, passenger throughput was 47.4 million, cargo volume reached 3.72 million tonnes and air traffic movements were 294,180.