HKIA tight on capacity, but denies slot moratorium

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Hong Kong International airport (HKIA) denies that it has placed a moratorium on issuing new night movement slots, but admits that it is likely to hit its maximum aircraft movement capacity earlier than planned.

The denial comes after Hong Kong Airlines’ assistant commercial director Michael Burke said at a recent event that the airport had effectively put a moratorium on issuing new night time slots.

In a written statement addressing questions from Flightglobal, the Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK) denies that it had placed a moratorium on issuing new slots, although all slots for the upcoming season have already been allocated.

“Flight schedule for Summer 2014 has been allocated with due regard to HKIA’s annual practical maximum ATM capacity and the historical split of 80:20 daytime/nighttime slot allocation,” the Authority says.

“With increasingly fewer available slots for selection, it is understood that the flexibility for airlines to schedule new flights that can match their origin/destination airports will become more challenging.”

AAHK adds that air traffic volumes have been rising much faster than forecast in its 2030 master plan. Last year the number of movements the airport handled reached the level previously forecast for 2016, and the Authority now expects the two runway system to reach maximum capacity earlier than the 2019-2022 timeframe indicated in that plan.

The Authority adds that the "ultimate solution@ to HKIA's capacity issues is the construction of a third runway. To that end, it is working through the environmental approval process, which is expected to conclude by the end of the year.

Subject to gaining the required approvals, the third runway is expected to be in commission by 2023.