Cathay Pacific is just one of several companies bidding to become the third cargo handler at Hong Kong International Airport, and has competition from other third party handlers, according to the airport’s head of internationalmarketing, Dora Kay.
She said it was hoped to have the new terminal operational by 2011, but could not give a more detailed timetable, as she was not personally involved in the tender process.
Hong Kong’s second handler, AAT opened its second terminal in March, boosting capacity to 1.5 million tonnes. DHL is also in the process of expanding its express centre, fi ve years ahead of its original plan.
On the airport’s new management joint venture with Zhuhai airport, just north of Macau, Kay said there was defi – nite possibilities for cargo cooperation, but much would depend on whether the project to build a bridge across the Pearl River Estuary went ahead.
In the meantime, she said the Hong Kong Airport Authority would be looking at opportunities to expand cargo traffi c through Zhuhai, either through growing passenger fl ights, or via dedicated freighters.
The joint venture started on 1 October, and at the time its general manager, Vivian Cheung, said the plan was to boost cargo from 10,000 tonnes in 2005 to 50,000 tonnes by 2010. Kay also hinted at possible cargo facilities development at Zhuhai, saying it was “a greenfi eld site, with lots of possibilities.” She added: “I can’t say too much about details, but there are several initiatives.”
Zhuhai could help Hong Kong boost its cargo reach on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, but Kay points out that the barge services feeding into the airport’s Marine Cargo Terminal already bring it substantial amounts of feeder coverage from this region.
Hong Kong also has a management joint venture with Hangzhou airport which came into effect earlier thisyear.
Until recently, the airport was used as a hub by MASkargo, which unexpectedly halted operations last month, but it is to become a Chinese sub-hub for FedEx in addition to its new Asian hub in Guangzhou. Kay said it would be concentrating on these two airport joint ventures for now and not seeking other ones until they had bedded in.
Hong Kong handled a record 897 fl ights in one day on 5 April, and saw nine new carriers start services in 2006, a fact that proves it is more than holding its own as a regional hub. Kay highlighted the switch of Air New Zealand fl ights from Singapore to Hong Kong as a stopover en route to London as a highly signifi cant vote of confi dence in the airport. Yangtze River Express is the latest cargo airline to start services to Hong Kong, launching a fi ve times a week service from Hangzhou and Qingdao on 17 April.
The airport saw tonnage growth of 2.8 percent to 3,570,000 tonnes in the year to March, a slowdown from the 5.2 percent rise it saw in calendar 2006. Exports grew 3 percent and were 64 percent of total throughput, while imports grew 2.3 percent. – Peter Conway