"Very often in our industry we hear about "fifth freedom rights" and other mysterious concepts in connection with airlines and the routes they fly. The
following article was picked up off the Internet where it was reportedly copied from a Qantas newsletter. In any event, I thought it was a rather good
and very succinct description of the various "freedoms" involved in air route negotiations.
In 1944 an International Convention was held in Chicago to map out the framework for all future bi-lateral and multi-lateral (i.e., between two or
between many different countries) air agreements. Traditionally, and preserved in this convention, an airline needs the approval of the governments of
the various countries involved before it can fly in or out of a country, or even across the country without landing.
The 1944 Chicago Convention has been extended somewhat since that time, and currently there are generally considered to be eight different
freedoms. These days, it seems the "fifth freedom" rights are most in the news as airlines seek to expand their route systems and become more global
Please note that although these provisions are called "freedoms", they are not automatically granted to an airline as a right. They are privileges, not
The right to fly across another country without landing.
The right to land in another country for purposes other than carrying passengers, such as re-fueling or maintenance.
Third and Fourth Freedoms
They stand together as the basis for commercial services, providing the rights to load and unload passengers, mail and cargo in another country.
Sometimes referred to as "beyond rights". This freedom enables airlines to carry passengers to one country, and then fly on to another country (rather
than back to their own).
Not formally part of the original convention, this refers to a state's right to carry traffic between two other countries via an airport in its own territory.
Also an unofficial extension, this covers the right to operate stand-alone services between two other countries.
Another unofficial extension of the treaty, this is sometimes also referred to as "cabotage" rights. This refers to the carriage of passengers and cargo
within the borders of another country.