Freedoms of Air - What You Need to Know About Them

How is it that airlines can fly past different countries with nations protesting about infringement on their sovereignty? Every international travel means that the airline has to pass over a number of countries before it can reach its destination. With the arrival of air travel, nations understood this problem.

Freedoms of the Air are the aviation rights that give an airline permission to enter and land in another country's airspace. There are a total nine freedoms that are available to an airline.

The first two freedoms concern themselves with the passage of a commercial aircraft into foreign airspace and about carrying people, mail, and cargo using an airline service. International treaties consider the first five freedoms official, especially according to Chicago Convention. The others are not official but are nevertheless agreed by most countries. In this article, we will take a look at the five official freedoms.

First Freedom

This freedom gives airline right to fly over a foreign airspace without landing. By 2007, there were 129 countries who were part of this treat. Big countries like USA, India, and Australia are part of it. After the First World War, this right was universal. However, under this category most country charge fees and require overnight notification before using their airports.

Second Freedom

This right was meant to provide airlines technical stops; without loading or unloading its cargo or passengers. Under this right, airline can refuel and undergo maintenance while on its course to another country. This right is more exercised by cargo carriers and passenger carrier hardly use this right.

Third Freedom

Third Freedom is the basic right to an airline to fly their aircraft from their country to the destination country. However, there may few variations of agreements between two countries, which put restriction on cargo, capacity of the aircraft, and flight frequency; among others.

Fourth Freedom

This freedom is reverse of third freedom that gives the right to an airline to fly its aircraft from a foreign country to it's own country carrying cargo or passenger. Same goes with regards to restriction put on the airline in the agreement between two countries to use each other's airport facilities.

Fifth Freedom

This freedom comes under beyond rights. It allows an airline to create revenue traffic between other foreign countries for providing its services where flight either originate or end at airline's country. This is right is an extension of the second freedom but it gives further privilege to exchange passenger and cargo. However, many countries including most Asian countries do not grant the fifth freedom.

We will look into the other four unofficial freedoms of an airline in the next article.