The Fifth Freedom of the Air is quite in vogue as of late – especially with the big three Gulf Carriers. Simply put, fifth freedom rights allow an air carrier to carry passengers from one’s own country A, to country B, and onward to country C, with the permission to sell tickets for each leg. For example, below maps out Emirate’s fifth freedom route via Milan, however that route’s future is uncertain.
Why Fifth Freedom Rights Matter to Fliers
Amol at HackMyTrip wrote a great post and updated it as recently as last year, and covered some of the more interesting routes available at the time. Essentially: Fifth freedom rights allow you to fly on some really cool airlines to places you might not expect.
A small collection (again, courtesy of HackMyTrip), include Emirates to Auckland from Melbourne or Sydney, a half dozen airlines from Bangkok to Hong Kong, Qatar from Singapore to Denpasar-Bali, Madrid to Frankfurt on LAN, and many more!
Why Fifth Freedom Rights Matter to Airlines
In many cases, Fifth Freedom rights open up cities that airlines would otherwise be unable to serve, either due to distance or density. A great example is Emirates Airways, who flies from Dubai to Melbourne and Sydney, and onward to Auckland.
It is important to note, that fifth freedom routes are a double edged sword; they can open up markets to greater flight availability, but at the same point, can be a disadvantage to the flagged carriers (e.g. Alitalia).
As far as other parts of the world, it seems to me that Asia is more permitting of fifth freedom rights than anywhere else in the world. Some examples include:
I find this most interesting, because most of the routes identified are operated by European or Gulf airlines (sans Singapore-Colombo and Bangkok-Singapore which are operated by Cathay Pacific). It is interesting to me because Asia has a very robust low-cost carrier segment, and perhaps more interestingly, from a low cost carrier standpoint, there’s a mix of affiliates / Joint Ventures like Jetstar, Air Asia, but also some unique ones, like Nok Air.
Conspicuously missing, are not as many non-African fifth freedom rights in Africa. Last year RwandAir was looking at some routes, unfortunately, more recently, Air Tanzania objected. According to the African Airlines Association has a study from 2012 that shows the following 5th Freedom rights by sub-region:
I plan to do more research on this, and post more in the future, primarily because I believe 5th freedom rights are nearly as important as alliances, with respect to opening up cities to tourism.
Have you flown any Fifth Freedoms? What are your thoughts? Helpful or hurtful to tourism?