Fifth freedom rights beyond China and South Korea have widened for Australian carriers, but Canberra continues to resist Singapore's pressure to allow fifth freedom flights beyond Australia.

When the two countries inked an aviation accord last September, they allowed unlimited third and fourth freedoms and agreed to discuss further liberalisation "when there is greater stability in the global aviation environment".

Singapore says that time has come. It seeks fifth freedoms beyond Australia to the USA so that Singapore Airlines can compete against Qantas in that market.

Australia's transport minister John Anderson says it is too early to tell if the industry has recovered and is unwilling to discuss opening the US route.

Under the China bilateral, Australian airlines may select any nation in the world except the USA for fifth freedom passenger flights, and may operate fifth freedom cargo flights anywhere, including the USA. As a result Qantas has launched twice-weekly Sydney-Shanghai-Chicago cargo service. The South Korea-Australia accord doubles the number of weekly fifth freedom cargo services by each side from three to six.

Source: Airline Business