Hong Kong Airport Authority has received approval from Beijing to manage Zhuhai Airport in southern Guangdong province.
This will be under a cooperation agreement with the Zhuhai municipal government, the Hong Kong Airport Authority said in a statement late Wednesday.
Hong Kong Airport Authority paid 198 million RMB for a 55% stake in the joint venture.
The Airport Authority and the Zhuhai Municipal PeopleÁ?s Government to Jointly Manage Zhuhai Airport
The Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference today announced that the Central Government has approved a co-operation agreement between the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government and the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) to jointly manage Zhuhai Airport. The joint venture (JV), known as the Zhuhai-Hong Kong Airport Management Company Limited, will pay a franchise fee for the exclusive right to manage and operate Zhuhai Airport for 20 years.
The JV has a registered capital of RMB360 million. The AA holds a 55 per cent stake, which it acquired for RMB198 million through its wholly owned subsidiary HKIA (China) Ltd. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government controls the remaining 45 per cent of the JV, which it acquired by injecting RMB162 million through its wholly owned company Zhuhai Headway Transportation Investment Co. Ltd. The JV’s two parent companies will discuss the timing and details of share acquisition of Zhuhai Airport.
The JV’s management team will be based on the existing management team and, working closely with existing staff, will expand Zhuhai Airport’s domestic network; strengthen and diversify its air services; improve the airport’s accessibility; and maximise the synergy between Zhuhai Airport and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Mr Deng Weilong, Secretary of Zhuhai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of Standing Committee of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Congress, pointed out that the agreement is of profound significance. He explained, “Zhuhai and Hong Kong play different roles in promoting the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region’s economic development. The co-operation between the two airports, the soon-to-be-built Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and other infrastructure projects in Zhuhai will accelerate the development of the western Pearl River Delta.”
The Chairman of the Airport Authority, Dr Victor Fung Kwok-king, expressed his gratitude to the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government for supporting the agreement. Dr Fung said, “This is a prime example of the expanding partnership between Hong Kong and Guangdong. The co-operation between HKIA and PRD airports showcases Hong Kong’s ability to work with the Mainland—particularly with the Pan-PRD region—to achieve win-win results.”
The Mayor of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government, Mr Wang Shunsheng, said, “New demand generated from regional development and the construction of new transport infrastructures has created huge opportunities for Zhuhai, leading the city into a critical period of development. The agreement will maximise Zhuhai’s potential as a regional transportation hub by combining HKIA’s comprehensive international network and management expertise with Zhuhai Airport’s extensive domestic network and capacity.”
The Airport Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr David J Pang, noted that long-term strategic planning is the key to maintaining HKIA’s competitiveness and achieving sustainable growth. Dr Pang said, “This agreement not only enables HKIA to become an insider in the Mainland’s aviation system but also marks a milestone in our long-term strategy of forming an integrated regional airport system for the PRD.”
Dr Pang added that the tie-up will benefit Hong Kong’s aviation industry by extending its reach into the PRD. “Zhuhai and its environs are a huge catchment area for Hong Kong, and flows of cargo and passengers between the two places are set to increase. As a result, this agreement will enhance Hong Kong’s status as a premier regional and international aviation hub and create economic growth for the entire PRD region.”
Zhuhai Airport is located in the western Pearl River Delta, where growth potential abounds. Between 2001 and 2004, Zhuhai’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a compound annual average rate of 13.4 per cent, and Zhuhai’s GDP reached RMB63.5 billion in 2005. Zhuhai and its neighboring cities, such as Jiangmen and Zhongshan, have a total population of over eight million and a combined GDP of over RMB220 billion. It is expected that the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will fuel the further growth of the western Pearl River Delta.