The community at Hong Kong airport is getting ready as ‘operation familiarisation’ commenced with the first government and commercial cargo flights descending upon the new third runway last week.
A Government Flying Service plane landed at around 0824 hrs on 8 July, followed by a commercial cargo flight operated by Cathay Pacific (CX 3251) from Shanghai Pudong at 0827 hrs.
The airport authority announced earlier that ‘familiarisation’ on the third runway, designated as the north runway, will be conducted from 8 July 2022 onwards to allow stakeholders of the aviation community to orient themselves with the related procedures and collaborative arrangements in an orderly manner.
As such, the airport’s centre runway will be temporarily closed for reconfiguration as part of the three-runway System (3RS) development. HKIA will continue to operate with the new north runway and the south runway.
Aside from the third runway, Hong Kong’s US$18-billion 3RS project includes the expansion of Terminal 2, development of a new T2 concourse, automatic ‘people mover’ and baggage handling system, which is scheduled for completion in 2024.
After its expansion, the airport expects to handle annual passenger and cargo volumes of around 120 million and 10 million tonnes, respectively, according to a previous statement.
The Hong Kong air hub reported 1.4 million passengers and 144,505 flights for its most recent fiscal year (2021/2022), down 70.4 percent and 13.1 percent year on year. Cargo throughput, meanwhile, rebounded to pre-pandemic level, up 7.1 percent to 4.9 million tonnes.