• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 10:12pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Can Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports co-ordinate for mutual gain?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 December, 2013, 4:14am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 December, 2013, 11:45am

Building a state-of-the-art airport terminal in one of the world's fastest-growing economies is a challenge. The new one in Shenzhen, like other large-scale infrastructure projects worldwide, suffered teething pains during its initial operation, especially as the switch from the old terminals to the new one happened overnight. Some passengers missed their flights, blaming confusing flight schedules and information. But compared with the turbulence experienced during the Hong Kong airport relocation 15 years ago, the Shenzhen terminal opening had a relatively smooth take-off.

Our neighbour has every reason to feel proud. Designed in the shape of a manta ray by Italian architects, the 8.6 billion yuan (HK$10.7 billion) terminal is another showpiece of China's economic prowess. Three times the size of the old terminals, the new one will be able to handle up to 45 million passengers a year by 2020. That is not far short of Hong Kong's 56.5 million last year. Officials hope it will become the mainland's preferred hopping-off point for flights to Southeast Asia.

Concerns have been raised that the airport may pose a threat to Hong Kong's. So far it handles just 65 flights a week to Singapore, Bangkok and Taiwan, among other Southeast Asian destinations; they are outnumbered by the numerous international routes radiating from Chek Lap Kok. Thanks to its high-quality service and facilities, our airport has been consistently rated one of the best. While Shenzhen airport is expected to live in Hong Kong's shadow for some time, it is eager to catch up. There are plans for flights to Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Air cargo and mail capacity will eventually reach two million tonnes a year.

With Hong Kong airport's third runaway still grounded, declining competitiveness is a valid issue for the city. Some price-sensitive passengers in Hong Kong were already switching to Shenzhen airport. It would not be surprising if the new terminal takes away more business in the future.

That said, the growing competition need not be a zero-sum game. It is in the long-term interest of the two airports to work together closely. Given that the airspace over the Pearl River Delta is one of the world's busiest, there is a long-standing need for the regional airports to better co-ordinate their air traffic. They stand to gain further by complementing each other's strengths in the region. The synergy is expected to enhance the delta region's status as an international aviation hub.


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Undersea Tunnel will be Built to Connect Shenzhen and Hong Kong Airports
Published on March 14, 2011 by Lori
"The Chinese government has released a plan to build a undersea tunnel connecting Shenzhen Baoan Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. With over 50-billion investment, the 42-km tunnel can make the two airports' transfer complete within 30 minutes. The tunnel construction is expected to complete in 2018"
ah so
then we can do away with a lot of current growth in narrow body flights transferring Mainlanders back to their homeland since Shenzhen has far more internal flights than HKG
but wait, HKAA owns 55% of Zhuhai airport management company & the bridge was built solely to transfer cargo from Zhuhai to CLK (since Zhuhai has no international destinations)
so HKAA must be seeking a piece of Bao'an ?
The "dark horse" that is reported in Guangdong newspapers but not in HK, is Guangzhou's plan to build a 2nd airport between Jiangmen and Nansha. because its present airport is
nearing capacity. Nansha is directly opposite Shenzhen airport, and adjacent to
the Shenzhen-Zhongshan bridge project.
If not mentioned in HK, has it not been factored into the 3rd runway's financial payback ?
Why is para 4 is the third runway linked to price sensitivity? Are we supposed to read into this that HK ticket prices will go down once the 3rd runway is in place? yea right!
John Adams
A cooperation with SZ airport would make a lot of sense
Today the main problem for HK people to use SZ airport ( from which flights to China are much cheaper than from HK - although not so reliably on time) is the time it takes to get there.
Road transport is one of the quickest and most convenient ways in all weathers. But the time taken can vary from 45 minutes to 4 hours depending on traffic and the whims of the SZ customs inspectors ( especially if they are changing shifts = add 2 hours travel time).
If there was a rail rain interlink in between the CLK and SZ airports it would make a huge difference. It does not have to be a high speed link : just lots of trains that run regularly .
And indeed - if HK really does need a 3rd runway, let CX pay for it themselves. Why should the average tax payer fund it ?
BTW: we never did hear the end of the CX Paris junket scandal. I heard a lot about donations to charity, but no law-makers resigned in shame, like they should have done.
Albert Ho - you were on that CX junket and you are always among the first to attack others' wrong-doings. How about you be the first to resign in shame ?
The CX Paris vacation has been swept under the carpet. The lawmakers involved have been instructed to fund the third runway, a runway for the benefit of CX more than anyone else.
There are long term plans to link SZ and HK airports with rail. It makes for sense to expedite this project than to build a third runway here. Extending the airport express line would be ideal.
As I see it if there is more air traffic to be handled in this region, the third runway has already be built -- in Shenzhen.
No one is going to benefit if we build the third runway now except for the engineers, contractors, construction laborers and suppliers. And perhaps to Cathay Pacific itself in winning a dog fight over Shenzhen. Remember, it is Hong Kong people who is footing the bill for that fight.
Let Cathay Pacific pays for the third runway if it wants winning at all cost for more profits.


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