Hong Kong Airport takes step closer to third runway

28 May 2012

The Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK) has taken a step closer to expanding Hong Kong International Airport by submitting the three-runway project profile for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to the Director of Environmental Protection.

As reported earlier (see story here), even though the Hong Kong government has approved plans for a third runway at HKIA, the AAHK will need to obtain an environmental permit before embarking on the project. 

A statement from HKIA said the submission “marks the beginning of the project’s statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process,” which is expected to take two years.

Part of the process will include a 14-day public consultation, between May 29 and June 11. During this period, members of the public can “forward their written comments on the project profile to the Director of Environmental Protection,” before he issues an EIA Study Brief that will outline the areas that the AAHK will need to cover when measuring the potential environmental impact of the third runway.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, chief executive of AAHK, said: “the expansion of HKIA will enhance Hong Kong’s long-term development and overall competitiveness. The EIA study is a critical element of the planning phase to develop HKIA into a three-runway system, and we will conduct it in a highly engaging, transparent and professional manner.”

Once this process is complete, the AAHK can go on to finalise design details and develop suitable financial options.

As reported earlier (see story here), the third runway at Hong Kong airport is urgent considering the airport is predicted to reach saturation point by 2017. Passenger traffic is already inching closer to its maximum capacity of 87 million passengers per year, having clocked 53.6 million passengers last year – a 5.8 per cent increase from the year before.

It is particularly crucial that HKIA retains its competitiveness at this stage, as it is one of six up-and-coming airports that make up the Pearl River Delta aviation hub (see Business Traveller‘s special report here). 

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Alisha Haridasani

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