Asian airlines support third Hong Kong runway
Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, Wednesday reiterated his support for a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport, the busiest cargo airport in the world.
In 2012, 4.03 million tons of cargo passed through HKIA, and Airports Council International has ranked Hong Kong as the top cargo airport for the past three years. (It overtook the long-running cargo champion, Memphis International Airport, in 2010.) This level of throughput, according to airport officials, will soon strain existing infrastructure. The Airport Authority Hong Kong outlined the addition of a third runway in its Master Plan 2030, released in June 2011. Since then, slow, steady progress has been made toward achieving its goals, with environmental impact studies and public comment periods along the way.
“Hong Kong needs a third runway in order to remain competitive as a major aviation hub,” Herdman said in a statement. He noted, however, that any environmental and social concerns need to be fully “addressed and resolved” before construction can begin; community outreach is important as well, he said.
“We, therefore, very much welcome the efforts made by the Airport Authority of Hong Kong in reaching out to the wider community in its consultation process and its constructive engagement with various stakeholders in carrying out a comprehensive environmental impact assessment,” Herdman said. “We look forward to reviewing its recommendations and are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the associated environmental impacts are effectively mitigated.”
In August, at the opening of a four-day exhibition to update the public on the project’s progess, Stanley Hui Hon-chung, chief executive officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong, made the case for the added runway in stark terms.
“We need to implement the project as quickly as we can as air traffic continues to grow at a rapid pace,” he said at the time. “The latest forecasts show that by the year 2030, the traffic demand will reach 102.3 million passenger trips, 8.9 million tonnes of cargo and 607,000 aircraft movements a year. This not only far exceeds the capacity of the existing two-runway system, but also means that the need to expand HKIA into a three-runway system is becoming ever more pressing."