BEIJING: Malaysia Airlines can now operate cargo services from China directly to India, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said the national carrier was chosen to operate the new air freight route from Malaysia to Zhengzhou city, China, and then continue to India’s capital New Delhi, under fifth freedom rights granted by China.
Previously, from Zhengzhou, flights had to return to Kuala Lumpur before proceeding to New Delhi, he said.
Fifth freedom rights, under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, allowed a commercial airline to transport revenue traffic from its home country to a foreign destination, then pick up from there and proceed to other international destinations.
Liow said the move was a new step forward in the bilateral relationship between China and Malaysia.
“Malaysia would like to extend our sincere gratitude. We managed to open up more routes for passengers and cargo. We are looking forward to closer collaboration in strengthening our logistics sector,” he said.
Liow said Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) is expected to start the service soon.
Liow is here to attend the inaugural Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation, which starts today.
Some 30 nations are attending the conference.
“This ministerial meeting creates a platform for us to engage the experts, forge better networks and enhance cooperation. It is very important because Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region in the aviation sector with an annual passenger growth rate of 4.7% and has become the world’s largest aviation market,” he added.
During his three-day working visit here, Liow – who is also MCA president – will meet with leaders of the Communist Party of China and attend bilateral sessions with transport ministers from other countries in the region.
Members of his delegation include Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Hou Kok Chung, treasurer-general Tan Sri Kuan Peng Soon and deputy treasurer-general Datuk Seri Chuah Poh Khiang.
Yesterday, Liow made a courtesy call on China’s Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng. They talked about several issues related to aviation, railway development and port alliance as well as the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
He said China proposed a collaboration in search and rescue operations in the South China Sea, adding that Malaysia welcomed the offer to train and develop capacity building in this area.