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Canadian Fifth Freedom Flights

“Fifth freedom” flights are actually a very interested concept. It is the right for an airline to fly between 2 foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country. For example, Air China is an airline that originates from China. However, there is a route that flies between Montreal and Havana. All it is really doing is that it flies from Havana to Beijing, but it makes a stop in Montreal.

The reverse way of looking at it is that the airline has the right to carry passengers from one’s own country (China) to a second country (Canada), and from that country to a third country (Cuba).

List of Fifth Freedom Flights Going Through Canada

Below is a list of the fifth freedom flights that go through Canadian airports.

  • Air China – Montreal (YUL) to Havana (HAV)
  • Cathay Pacific – Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK)
  • Jet Airways – Toronto (YYZ) to Brussels (BRU) (ends March 25, 2016)
  • Jet Airways – Toronto (YYZ) to Amsterdam (AMS) (begins March 26, 2016)
  • Philippine Airlines – Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK)
  • TAM Airlines – Toronto (YYZ) to New York (JFK)

Air China, between Montreal and Havana is the newest addition to Canadian fight freedom flights.

Brussels Airlines is going to begin operations on March 27, 2016 between Brussels and Toronto, which is why we will see the discontinuation of the Jet Airways flight. However, I am happy to see that they will replace this with the flight between Amsterdam and Toronto.

Eighth Freedom Flight Worthy of Noting

UPDATED PER THE COMMENTS BELOW: I didn’t want to leave this one out from the list. An Eighth freedom flight is “the right to fly inside a foreign country, while continuing to one’s own country.” Essentially it is a domestic flight of an international airline. This is the eighth freedom flight worthy of nothing:

  • Philippine Airlines – Toronto (YYZ) to Vancouver (YVR)

Air Canada Operates a Fifth Freedom Flights

If you are curious, Air Canada actually operates a fifth freedom flight between Buenos Aires (EZE) and Santiago (SCL)


For airplane fans like myself, what’s cool about fifth freedom routes is that we can try different airlines than we normally might not fly. For example, let’s say I had no plans to go to Hong Kong in a long while, but I needed to travel between Vancouver and New York, then I could try a Cathay Pacific flight out, without having to go to Hong Kong. That being said, I would definitely love to go to Hong Kong!

What I do love most about the fifth freedom flights is that it opens up the airlines to be able to compete on routes that they would ordinarily not have access to. As a result, there is an increase in competition, which ultimately benefits the consumers. I just hope that we will continue to see more of such flights going through Canada!

Did I miss any other ones?


  1. YVR-YYZ is not a fifth freedom flight, as these airports are located within the same country. Is Phillipine Airlines even allowed loading/unloading passengers/cargo at YVR or is it only a technical stop? That would determine if it’s a second freedom flight or an (unofficial) eighth freedom flight.

  2. PAL YVR-YYZ is actually not a fifth freedom route as it’s domestic. That would be eighth freedom if they were allowed to carry passengers on the domestic segment only, which they are not.

  3. Cabotage – that’s the word that I was looking for, that defines the eighth freedom. The transport of passengers or cargo between two places in the same country by an airline if another country (Definition from Wikipedia).

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