China is further opening up its service sector to Hong Kong and Macau service providers to include air transport support services under extended terms of The Mainland China Hong Kong and Macau agreement on achieving basic liberalization of Trade in Services in Guangdong , signed late last year by the three parties under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) framework.
Under the agreement, Hong Kong and Macau service providers can invest in civil airports via controlling companies in the mainland and can provide commissioned management services to small- or medium-sized airports for up to 20 years. However non-mainland sole proprietorships are not permitted to operate in large airports.
The scope of air and ground transport services opened to Hong Kong and Macau sole proprietorships include agency services, stevedoring and communication networking and port control system services, container facilities management, passenger and luggage service, freight and postal service, hanger service and aircraft servicing.
One airline industry observer said opening up investment in the air transportation industry would bring competition and healthy development that would benefit mainland aviation. Bordering Hong Kong and Macau, Guangdong province leads China’s civil aviation industry and is hungry for capital investment. In recent years capital and human resources have flowed in from its two neighbors helping Guangdong’s airline industry to rapidly expand to China’s inner regions.
Meanwhile, as major air hubs, Hong Kong and Macau have been locked in vicious competition with the many smaller airports dotting the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. The opening up of the market will help rebalance and regulate the competition for resources.(Translation by David)