HONG KONG: Hong Kong busies itself with airport debate

The three-month long consultation process for the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 has kicked off sparking an outpouring of views, both for and against the prospect of a new third runway. Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng stressed at a media conference that the airport has only ten years before it reaches […]


The three-month long consultation process for the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 has kicked off sparking an outpouring of views, both for and against the prospect of a new third runway. Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng stressed at a media conference that the airport has only ten years before it reaches saturation and that any delay in expansion plans will result in irreversible losses in passenger and cargo transportation. The Hong Kong Airport Authority has put forward two plans for improving the city’s air services, predicting dire consequences if air services are not improved before hitting a capacity crunch. One option – set out as Option 2 in the proposals – calls for construction of a third, parallel runway north of the existing two runways. The plan also proposes construction of a new terminal, taxi way systems, airfield and apron facilities. The option requires the reclamation of another 600 hectares, north of the current airport. Building a third runway and associated facilities will require an investment of HK$86.2 billion (US$11 billion), in 2010 dollars, of which the land reclamation portion will amount to almost half of the total cost at HK$38.9 billion. The other, Option 1, calls for improvements to the existing two-runway system. To increase the capacity, the airport will have to expand existing facilities, such as the terminals, concourses, baggage handling system and road network. The two-runway upgrade plan will cost significantly less at HK$23.4 billion but will see airport capacity maxed out by 2020. An airport with three runways, however, will be able to meet the city’s forecast traffic demand “up to and possibly beyond 2030,” said chairman of the Airport Authority, Marvin Cheung Kin-tung. The Airport Authority expects strong growth in air demand in coming decades, with Hong Kong airport expected to have to handle 89 to 105 million passengers and 8 to 9.8 million tonnes of cargo by 2030. Flight movements will reach about 550,000 to 650,000.