Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 10 News List

HK, Malaysia sign air services deal for open structure

CNA , HONG KONG

Hong Kong signed an open-capacity arrangement on air services with Malaysia on Friday after two days of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur, according to a government official.

Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Wilson Fung said the deal provides an open structure for both airlines to operate as many passenger and cargo services between Hong Kong and anywhere in Malaysia as they wish, without any limitation on routing, type of service or aircraft.

It is the first of its kind signed by Hong Kong with an Asian partner, Fung noted.

"The new open-capacity structure accords full flexibility for airlines of the two sides to plan ahead and expand their services in response to market demand," he said.

"With a view to expanding further our bilateral aviation relationship, we have reached agreement with the Malaysian government to enable the airlines of Malaysia to operate all cargo services beyond Hong Kong to the United States," Fung explained.

"The new services will enhance competition in this long-haul market. This is in the best interests of Hong Kong's shipping community and reflects the government's determination to support the development of Hong Kong's logistics industry. In return, airlines of Hong Kong get very flexible and valuable fifth-freedom rights to operate beyond Malaysia," Fung added.

He encouraged Hong Kong and Malaysian airlines to make use of the liberal structure to introduce new services between the two places, and beyond to other destinations.

Malaysian airlines have also been invited to use Hong Kong as their hub for trans-Pacific all-cargo services.

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