Hong Kong’s government has approved a third runway for the city’s international airport. Expected to open by 2023, the HK$141.5 billion (US$18.2 billion) project will be funded from internal funds, borrowings and user fees, including a possible HK$180 (US$23.20) additional passenger fee until the end of construction.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) expects to reach maximum capacity under its current layout by 2022 at the latest. Last year, the airport handled 63.4 million passengers and 4.4 million tonnes of cargo, both records. The airport predicts that the third runway will allow it to handle 102 million passengers and 8.07 tonnes of freight a year by 2030.
The new runway would be to the north of the airport and will be for landings only. It is expected to boost the airports capacity from 68 flights an hour to 102. About 650 hectares of land will be reclaimed from the sea for the runway and a new passenger building.
The news was welcomed by local carriers with Cathay Pacific chief executive Ivan Chu saying the announcement was “a remarkable milestone” in the third runway project and welcomed the endorsement by the Executive Council. Chu also said the carrier “reiterated its unequivocal support for the development of a third runway which it believes is necessary to maintain the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong as a premier aviation hub”.
Joe Ng, vice chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives in Hong Kong, which represents 76 airlines, said he believed the third runway would “strengthen Hong Kong’s status as one of Asia’s premier aviation hubs. Aviation is an industry that contributes some eight per cent to Hong Kong’s GDP and accounts for eight per cent of employment in the city; the third runway is urgently needed to maintain the airport’s competitive strength and to ensure continued growth for the benefit of Hong Kong.”