Cost of airport expansion rises 30pc to HK$9b

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 December, 2011, 12:00am


The cost of Hong Kong airport's midfield expansion project has risen by nearly 30 per cent to HK$9 billion following a number of changes that increase the size of an originally planned new concourse and improve the airport's green features.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which will add a taxiway, 20 flight parking stands and a midfield concourse by 2015, was held yesterday.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng said the project was only a mid-term strategy that would allow the airport to handle air traffic growth until 2020, after which the airport would need a long-term plan, such as a third runway, to cope with any further growth.

'Any delay in infrastructure projects is likely to increase the costs,' Cheng said. 'I hope [the midfield expansion] project will be finished on time, within budget, and in keeping with the safety requirements.'

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, the chief executive of the Airport Authority, said the project's construction cost jumped to HK$9 billion from HK$7 billion because of inflation and changes in the original expansion plan.

'We have increased the size of the building and the apron areas, we extended the length and the scope of the automated people movers between terminals and we also added a number of green initiatives which allow us to recycle up to 60 per cent of the waste during the construction period,' Hui said.

An airport's apron area is where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refuelled or boarded.

About 20,000 LED lightings will be used in the new concourse, along with daylight sensors, solar shading and more than 1,200 square metres of solar panels on the building's rooftop.

The new building is expected to lower energy consumption by more than 20 per cent.

Seawater will be used to flush toilets while rainwater and dirty water will be recycled for cooling purposes in the airport's air-conditioning system.

The project will boost the airport's handling capacity to about 70 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo a year. However, by 2030, the number of passengers is expected to reach 97 million and cargo tonnage swell to 8.9 million tonnes.

The Airport Authority has finished processing the public's view on the third runway project and will submit a recommendation to the government before the end of this month. People with knowledge of the matter said the report found that most respondents to the consultation were in favour of building the runway.

Hui also said air cargo volume continued to record a slight year-on-year drop last month, but the rate of decline is narrowing and he believed that growth would return eventually.