Hong Kong Airport considers third runway

By Chris Sleight02 June 2011

The proposed three runway layout of Hong Kong's International Airport. The new area for reclamation

The proposed three runway layout of Hong Kong's International Airport. The new area for reclamation is outlined in red.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) has put two development options out to public consultation. The first involves keeping the current two runway layout at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), which AAHK says will only help meet medium term traffic needs. The second option is to build a third runway, the Authority claims would help meet demand up to 2030 and possibly beyond.

The two runway option would see improvements made to the terminal building and apron areas to increase airport capacity. This is expected to cost HK$ 23.4 billion (US$ 3.01billion) at today's prices, and would take HKIA's capacity to 74 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo per year. The airport would be able to handle 420000 flight movements per year.

The third runway option would involve reclaiming 650hectares of land to the north of the existing airport island, and the total cost of the project is put at HK$ 86.2 billion (US$ 11.1 billion) at today's prices. This would increase capacity to 97 million passengers and 8.9 million tonnes of cargo per year, and allow the airport to handle 620000 flight movements per year.

Speaking at the launch of the three-month public consultation exercise, AAHK chairman Dr Marvin Cheung Kin-tung said, "With Asia Pacific, and in particular the mainland [China] increasingly driving global and regional economic growth, air traffic demand has been experiencing strong growth in the past decade.

"This trend is expected to continue, and Hong Kong is well positioned to capture the opportunities it presents. The question is how much of such opportunities HKIA is able to capture in future. The current two runway system is forecast to be saturated by around 2020, and beyond that, HKIA will not be able to meet additional demand. This could irrevocably harm Hong Kong's position as a global aviation hub."

AAHK CEO Stanley Hui Hon-chung added, "We will listen carefully to the views of the public and our stakeholders and address them with an open mind. We look forward to working together with the people of Hong Kong to reach a timely decision on the best development option for our future."

The current Honk Kong airport was built on the islands of Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau, which were levelled and augmented with a massive land reclamation project to create the 12.5 km2 site. Reclamation and construciton began in 1991 and the airport opened in 1998. The project cost some US$ 20 billion.

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