Push for third Hong Kong runway gains momentum

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Published: June 5, 2011

The Assn. of Asia Pacific Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair have thrown their support behind the building of a third runway at Hong Kong International, saying that looming capacity constraints must be addressed.

Both CX and subsidiary Dragonair hold the view that a third runway at HKG is essential to maintain the city’s reputation as one of the world’s key aviation hubs. The Hong Kong Airport Authority, which believes the airport will hit a saturation point in 10 years, is looking at two options. The first is an upgrade of existing facilities, but the airlines, among others, believe this would be a token response that would fail to solve the coming capacity problem. The second is building a third parallel runway at a cost of HK$ 86.2 billion ($ 11.2 billion), with almost half the cost attributed to land reclamation. The additional runway would enable the airport to handle nearly 100 million passengers, 8.9 million tons of cargo and 602,000 flight movements annually by 2030.

Cathay Pacific CEO John Slosar told ATW in Sydney that the first option is not a practical solution. “Hong Kong needs to move quickly to build the third runway so as not to cede its competitive advantage,” he said.

AAPA DG Andrew Herdman commented that Hong Kong’s economy is tied to the long-term viability of HKG as a major hub: “Aviation is widely recognized as a key driver of economic and social development and has undoubtedly played a key role in establishing Hong Kong both as a major tourism hub and a leading international center for business and professional services, trading and transport logistics.”

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