23 October 2016
Hong Kong’s aviation logistics industry should proactively contribute to the building of a cooperation mechanism among OBOR countries. Photo: CNSA
Hong Kong’s aviation logistics industry should proactively contribute to the building of a cooperation mechanism among OBOR countries. Photo: CNSA

HK must take advantage of Silk Road in the Air

Connectedness is a key to the success of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. 

Civil aviation, as the most efficient and safest transportation and logistics method, will play an important role in improving the connectedness of countries along the OBOR region.

The “Silk Road in the Air” not only exchanges goods and passengers, but also information, capital, culture and friendship.

The OBOR brings great opportunity for China’s civil aviation industry. China’s underdeveloped regions will gain the opportunity to update their related infrastructure while aviation-related companies in the more developed regions can expand into bigger markets.

Although every country should hold complete control over its national airspace, their airworthiness rules should be consistent with international standards.

Currently, most of the cooperation in this regard is in form of bilateral airworthiness agreements.

Such agreements aim to ensure and improve aviation safety by establishing uniform standards and management systems.

China has signed bilateral airworthiness agreements with some countries along OBOR as well as with the European Union.

Countries along the OBOR should have border and more flexible airworthiness cooperation with each other and promote the trade of related civil aviation products.

The “Silk Road in the Air” will need more freedom in the aviation logistics market and refined air routes network in the region.

The opening up of airspace would significantly improve the airlines’ competitiveness and efficiency of operations.

China provides 6,541 international flights every week, among which 4,850 are between Asian countries and 766 have destinations in Europe.

Asia and Europe are the largest and second-largest international aviation logistics markets for Chinese airliners.

As one of the regional hubs for Asia, Hong Kong is connected with most urban centers in Asia and half of the world’s population within five hours of flight time.

There are more than 100 international airlines providing about 1,100 scheduled passenger and all-cargo flights each day between Hong Kong and about 190 destinations worldwide, including 50 mainland cities.

As of August 2015, Hong Kong had signed air services agreements with 68 aviation partners.

Although Hong Kong’s aviation logistics industry, along with its peers in the Pearl River Delta, has advantages in terms of airport construction and operational management, we should proactively contribute to the building of a cooperation platform, or mechanism, among OBOR countries.

Maybe we can expect the coming supplementary agreements of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) to provide more favorable rules for the aviation logistics industry in the region.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 25.

Translation by Myssie You

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Researcher of China Business Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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