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China, India renew aviation agreement

    BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhuanet) -- China and India signed a memorandum of understanding on the expansion of aviation transportation between the two countries, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China announced here Thursday.

    The new agreement allows the two countries to open freight market to each other. Passenger planes can fly to six cities in each country up to 14 flights per week, which will keep increasing year by year. The agreement also includes details on code-sharing cooperation of airline companies, aircraft leasing and foreign pilots hiring.

    China Eastern Airlines will launch new flights from Beijing to Mumbai via Shanghai beginning April 18. Four weekly flights will be operated. Air China and relevant Indian Airlines also prepare to join the route.

    China and India first signed an aviation agreement in 1988. In March 2002, China Eastern Airlines made a maiden flight from Beijing to New Delhi and on the following year Indian Airlines opened regular flights of Mumbai-New Delhi-Bangkok-Shanghai.

    In recent years, the relations between the two countries in trade and tourism have developed rapidly. Bilateral trade volume reached 13.6 billion US dollars in 2004, up 80 percent over the previous year and will surpass 20 billion US dollars by 2008. Personnel exchanges are expected to increase 30 percent in 2005. Enditem

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