Third runway given the green light
Third runway given the green light

DEPARTING passengers will be charged HK$180 from next year and airlines 15 percent more to help fund the third airport runway, with the budget ballooning to HK$141.5 billion.

Last Tuesday, the Executive Council (行政會議) gave the green light to the Airport Authority’s (機場管理局) three-runway system, which may be completed by 2023 if construction begins next year.

Authority chief executive Fred Lam Tin-fuk (林天福) and Transport Secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung (張炳良) said the project will be funded by bank loans and bonds, the airport’s operational surplus and dividends, and charging passengers and airlines.

As the government will not inject taxpayers’ money into the project, there is no need for it to pass through the Legislative Council (立法會).

Lam said, “Chek Lap Kok airport’s fee-charging level for airlines is the second cheapest of 55 international airports and there is room for raising it.”

The fee increase would restore it to what it was in 2000 but it still makes the airport the 53rd cheapest in the world.

The capacity target for the airport would be 620,000 flights each year with 102 flights per hour, compared to 68 flights now.

Roy Tam Hoi-pong (譚凱邦 ), of environmental group Green Sense (環保觸覺), described the third runway as a ‘white elephant’ and warned that additional flights would put pressure on air traffic in the Pearl River Delta (珠江三角洲).

(The Standard, 18 March 2015)