Hong Kong international airport’s (HKIA) Three-Runway System is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year, allowing the airport to tap into what it calls “a new aviation hinterland”. 

Announcing his government’s annual budget, Hong Kong financial secretary Paul Chan says countries that are part of Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt-and-Road’ global infrastructure investment initiative will be a key focus in the near-term, with HKIA looking into “strengthening aviation services between Hong Kong and related countries”. 

HKIA Exterior

Source: Wikimedia Commons

HKIA’s Three-Runway System expansion project comprises the construction of a third runway, as well as a second passenger terminal. 

Chan, speaking on 28 February, underscores Hong Kong’s importance as an aviation hub, especially for the Greater Bay Area (short for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area). 

“[Our] vision is to transform HKIA into an Airport City integrating commerce, conventions and exhibitions, tourism, lifestyle, logistics and more, shaping it into a world-class landmark,” says Chan. 

HKIA will look into opportunities in the Greater Bay Area for cargo and logistics. For instance, Hong Kong is working to develop a sea-air intermodel cargo shipment mode with the Chinese city of Dongguan, where the HKIA Logistics Park is sited. 

Chan adds that the city government is committed to developing HKIA as a “green airport”, particularly in relation to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). 

“The Airport Authority Hong Kong is working in collaboration with relevant government departments to simplify approval procedures for the transportation and storage of [SAF], so as to encourage more airlines to use SAF in Hong Kong. In addition, the [authority] has begun a consultancy study on SAF development trends worldwide, which will also put forward recommendations on policy measures and infrastructure,” states Chan. 

The study is expected to be completed by the third-quarter of the year. 

Hong Kong’s aviation sector responded in support of the government’s budget initiatives. Cathay Pacific says the Three-Runway System “will bring new and exciting opportunities for the aviation industry”. 

Cathay CEO Ronald Lam reiterates that the Greater Bay Area is “our home market”. Lam states: “Providing high-quality inter-modal transportation services for our travel and cargo customers is a core component of our growth strategy. The facilitation of such services will enable us to further contribute to the development of the Hong Kong international aviation hub as well as the aviation industry in the Greater Bay Area as a whole.”

Meanwhile, Greater Bay Airlines chief Stanley Hui says the measures announced by the secretary “will help reinforce the momentum of the economic recovery, benefitting various industries including tourism and aviation as well as Hong Kong’s economy at large”.