The Department of Transportation today published a Final Rule adding definitions of sixth- and seventh-freedom charters to the definitions section of 14 CFR Part 212. The Final Rule also requires foreign air carrier applicants for charter authority to provide updated reciprocity statements and operational data relative to its homeland-U.S. services.
What are the “Freedoms of the Air” addressed by the final rule? Well, generally speaking, Freedoms of the Air are reciprocal air rights exchanged between nations pursuant to the 1944 Chicago Convention. Initially, the Chicago Convention established five Freedoms of the Air which are: 1. Freedom of peaceful transit; 2. Freedom of non-traffic stop (to refuel, repair, or refuge); 3. Freedom to take traffic from the home state of the carrier to any country; 4. Freedom to bring traffic from any country to the home state of the carrier; 5. Freedom to pick up and discharge traffic at intermediate points.
Subsequent to the Chicago Convention, four additional Freedoms of the Air have developed that are characterized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as “so-called” Freedoms because only the first five Freedoms have been officially recognized as such by international treaty. The four additional “so called” Freedoms include: 6. Freedom to move traffic betwen two other countries via the home state of the carrier; 7. Freedom to transport traffic between the territory of a granting state and any third state with no requirement that the service connect to or be an extension of any service to/from the home state of the carrier; 8. Freedom to transport cabotage traffic between two points in the territory of the granting State on a service which originates or terminates in the home country of the foreign carrier or (in connection with the so-called Seventh Freedom of the Air) outside the territory of the granting State (also known as “consecutive cabotage”); and 9. Freedom to transport cabotage traffic of the granting State on a service performed entirely within the territory of the granting State (also known as “stand alone” cabotage).
The definitional amendments in the Final Rule are intended to “clarify that sixth-freedom charter means a charter flight carrying traffic that originates and terminates in a country other than the country of the foreign air carrier’s home country, provided the flight operates via the home country of the foreign air carrier; and that seventh-freedom charter means a charter flight carrying traffic that originates and terminates in a country other than the foreign air carrier’s home country, where the flight does not have a prior, intermediate, or subsequent stop in the foreign air carrier’s home country.”
Even though they are not recognized pursuant to international treaty, the sixth and seventh Freedoms are recognized among reciprocating countries, including the U.S., pursuant to bilateral agreements. And at least for the U.S., the sixth and seventh Freedoms are now statutorily recognized Freedoms.
The rule becomes effective April 4, 2006. If you would like further information regarding the Final Rule, you may contact Brian Hedberg, Office of International Aviation (X-40), U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 7th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590; (202) 366-7783.