Green light for HK’s third runway

Hong Kong’s government has given a crucial ‘in principal’ green light for the plan to build an HK$86.2 billion (US$11 billion) third runway at the world’s busiest cargo and Asia’s third busiest passenger airport.


Eva Cheng HKIA Hong Kong Airport Authority Hong Kong International Airport third runway


Hong Kong’s government has given a crucial ‘in principal’ green light for the plan to build an HK$86.2 billion (US$11 billion) third runway at the world’s busiest cargo and Asia’s third busiest passenger airport. The airport’s two existing runways are forecast to reach capacity by 2020.

“The executive council has approved in principal the airport authority’s recommendation to adopt the three-runway system as the future development option for its next stage of planning,” Secretary for Transport and Housing, Eva Cheng said. The government-owned airport authority is now clear to start work on detailed design, financing, and an environment impact assessment, tasks which are expected to take about two years, she said.

Completing the assessment may take up to two years and the ultimate decision will probably happen in 2015, she said.  The HK$86.2 billion cost for the third-runway is in 2010 dollars and the final number may be HK$136.2 billion at “money- of-the-day prices” by the time it’s built, according to the airport operator’s website.

The airport operator, Cathay Pacific Airways and a host of other companies and associations have favored a third runway over a more-limited and cheaper alternative. Environmental groups have opposed the third runway because of concerns about the effect of land-reclamation work on marine wildlife, including endangered Pink Dolphins. About 650 hectares of land will be added to the northern edge of the existing airport island un