The freedoms of the air… what is it?
The Freedoms of the Air are a set of rules allowed by ICAO to airlines.
The best known of the freedoms of the air, because it is the most atypical, is the fifth one: it is the right to embark/disembark in a third State passengers coming to/from any other contracting State.
Or in French: this allows an airline tooperate between two cities in two countries, other than the country of origin. And you can see that from Montreal, a flight of this type is operated by the Chinese national airline!
Air China: Beijing – Havana via Montreal
Some time ago, I announced the new direct flight between Montreal and Beijing on Air China (Star Alliance).
This is great news for the Montreal economy and this flight seems to be working very well. There is also talk of opening a new direct flight to China to Shanghai.
But in reality, it was a desire of the Chinese government to open a line to Havana in Cuba using… the 5th Freedom Air!
Other flights available in Canada under the 5th Freedom of the Air rule
There are a few flights operated in Canada by foreign airlines under the 5th Freedom of the Air rule:
- Montreal (YUL) to Havana (HAV) – Air China
- Toronto (YYZ) to New York (JFK) = TAM Airlines
- Toronto (YYZ) to Amsterdam (AMS) – Jet Airways
- Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK) – Cathay Pacific
- Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK) – Philippine Airlines
I would say that the most coveted one for aviation enthusiasts like me is the Cathay Pacific flight from Vancouver to New York.
It can be booked with British Airways Executive Club miles and is a unique opportunity to travel in unparalleled comfort, especially in business or first class on this great Asian airline.
Just as the Air China flight from Montreal to Havana could be booked with Aeroplan miles… if Aeroplan added Cuba to its list of destinations available for online booking.
The other freedoms of the air
The 5th freedom of the air is the most famous, because it is the one that goes beyond the common rules! But there are 9 in all. An infographic from Air France on the subject is very well done to understand these 9 freedoms.
First freedom of the air: right for a carrier of a State to fly over the territory of another State without landing.
Example: Air Canada flies over the United States on a Montreal-Mexico flight
Second freedom of the air: right to make technical stops. The right of a carrier of one state to land in another state for non-commercial purposes, such as maintenance or refueling, during a flight to a third state.
Third freedom of the air: the right to disembark in a third State passengers who have embarked in the State of nationality of the aircraft.
Example: Air Canada disembarks passengers from Montreal in Cancun.
Fourth freedom of the air: the right to embark passengers in a third state to the state of nationality of the aircraft.
Example: Air Canada boards passengers in Cancun for Montreal.
Fifth freedom of the air: right granted by one State to another to land and embark, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or going to a third State.
Sixth freedom of the air: the right of a carrier of one State to provide a service between two other States through the State of origin: this is the hub principle.
Example: Air Canada boards passengers in Paris for Los Angeles via its Toronto hub.
Seventh freedom of the air: the right of a carrier of a State to operate, entirely outside its territory, routes and services between two other States.
Example: Air Canada operates a Buenos Aires-Santiago route.
Eighth freedom of the air: the right of a carrier of one State to provide a service between two points situated in the territory of another State: this is the principle of cabotage.
Example: Philippines Airlines boards Toronto-bound passengers in Vancouver on its Philippines-Toronto flight.
Ninth freedom: the right of a carrier of one State to provide a service between two points in the territory of another State.
Example: Air France operates a Berlin-Frankfurt route in GermanyCome to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!