The International Air Transport Association reiterated its support for the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) earlier, as the Airport Authority Hong Kong opened public consultations on the project.
“Aviation is a critical part of Hong Kong’s economy,” said IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani, “It connects 1,300 regional head offices to their markets and gives Hong Kong an important global presence as a major gateway to China.”
“But the Hong Kong hub can only fulfil its important economic role if it has sufficient capacity to grow. For this, a third runway is needed.”
HKIA is rapidly approaching its effective capacity of 74 million passengers and six million tonnes of cargo.
In 2010, HKIA served a record 50.9 million passengers and 4.1 million tonnes of cargo.
IATA airlines serving HKIA forecast that by 2014, 62.2 million passengers and 5.3 million tonnes of cargo will travel to and from Hong Kong.
“Over the last decade HKIA traffic grew from 33 million to 51 million passengers,” continued Bisignani.
“Demand is growing faster than originally projected and the airport will certainly be saturated before the original blueprint forecast of 2040. That’s a serious issue for Hong Kong’s economy.
“To remain a great place for businesses to serve both China and the region, the Hong Kong hub must be supported with investments to stay ahead of the curve on capacity.
“There are lots of competitors for the growing aviation business and the economic opportunities that come with it.
“Beijing completed an expansion of Capital airport in 2008 that increased capacity to about 82 million and already there are plans for another mega airport to serve the city’s growing needs.
“In Shanghai, Pudong’s master plan is for five runways and the ability to handle 80 million passengers and 5.7 million tonnes of cargo.
“To grow and remain competitive, Hong Kong needs to build as well,” concluded Bisignani.