Tue, Feb 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Vietnam agrees to air pact amendment

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese carriers can now fly cargo aircraft to Europe and the Middle East via Vietnam after Taipei and Hanoi agreed an amendment to an aviation pact last month, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

The two countries signed the initial aviation pact in 1993, the CAA said, which was followed by an amendment in 2006 in which both agreed to grant each other freedom of the air for passenger flights. Taiwanese flights can now leave for Europe via Vietnam and Vietnamese flights can depart for San Francisco and Los Angeles via Taiwan. Under the agreement, each side can dispatch a maximum of five passenger flights per week.

However, carriers in both countries have yet to use the “fifth freedom of the air” agreement for passenger flights. Despite this, Taiwanese carriers had expressed the hope that fifth freedom of the air provisions could apply to cargo flights as well because they are planning to launch a service to the Middle East and Europe via Vietnam.

The CAA said both countries agreed the second amendment to the aviation pact on Jan. 18 following a series of negotiations.

Both have also agreed that each side can dispatch five cargo flights per week at the initial stage, adding that the number could be raised to seven per week after the pact between the two countries has been in place for two years.

At present, Europe-bound cargo flights operated by China Airlines and EVA Air, the nation’s two largest carriers, transit via India.

In related news, the CAA said enthusiasts of ultralight aircraft could now fly a designated air route in the south.

The airspace covers a route from Dapeng Bay (大鵬灣) to Nanhua Saijia (南華賽嘉), both in Pintung County, the CAA said.

A round-trip flight is about 40km, with an estimated travel time of 30 minutes. Pilots must fly at an altitude below 304m, the CAA said.

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