Air Serbia gets â€˜fifth freedomâ€™ rights from Sri Lankaâ€™s Mattala
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has approved a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Serbia under which Air Serbia gets fifth freedom rights to carry traffic between foreign countries if it uses a new airport in the island’s south that has failed to draw airlines.
Government spokesman Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between Sri Lanka and Serbia would help develop air services and tourism in Sri Lanka.
“Especially the Mattala International Airport can be used by allowing Serbian aircraft to fly to other countries,” he told a news conference.
Mattala airport has been criticised for its inability to draw airlines several years after being built with Chinese loans.
Fifth freedom traffic rights refers to the right for an airline to take passengers from its home country, deposit them at another country and then pick up and carry passengers from that country to other international destinations.
Air Serbia, formerly Jat Airways, is 49 percent owned by Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier.
Sri Lanka’s Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Serbia allows designated airlines of both countries, including SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka, to operate up to seven flights a week using third and fourth freedom traffic rights.
These are the usual rights for an airline to deliver revenue traffic from the airline’s home country to another country and to carry traffic back.
The agreement also allows the airlines to operate unrestricted passenger charter flights between the two countries.
(Colombo/November 12 2015)