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Hong Kong's third runway proposal

Why Hong Kong's third runway is not needed

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 April, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 April, 2015, 10:55am

The building of the third runway is expected to be cause for public pride for Hong Kong and an engineering marvel. I want to add my voice of opposition to it.

Hong Kong enjoys an enviable geographic location and is an international business centre attracting

multinational corporations which utilise our aviation hub. It is, therefore, important for Hong Kong to maintain its hub status which helps drive our economic growth.

I do not doubt that the airport in its current form will eventually be overwhelmed by the steady growth in both passenger and cargo traffic. But it seems that the building of the third runway is a piecemeal strategy, building a new runway whenever capacity is reached.

Hong Kong International Airport has not fully utilised the two existing runways.

Instead, the airport management should better plan the efficient use of the runways. Take Heathrow as an example: it operates its two runways at 80 aircraft movements per hour. This should be evidence enough for the government to improve management of aircraft movements.

The central issue is airspace in the Pearl River delta.

There are five airports clustered around the delta, making the airspace in the region one of the most congested in the world, limiting routes for all air traffic. This arrangement places a finite limit on flight movements into or out of Chep Lap Kok, regardless of the number of runways.

It is not a small piece of land the authorities are reclaiming, and the location of the proposed third runway is in the heart of three Chinese white dolphin hotspots.

Reclamation will also cause a lot of solid and water pollution during construction.

Suspended solids and other pollutants released during the construction process will directly affect marine animals and those of us who eat fish.

Some claim to have solutions, such as using deep cement mixing and building dolphin parks but these will only add to costs I doubt revenue will cover.

Simply put, Hong Kong does not need a third runway. What Hong Kong needs is better management and utilisation of its existing two runways.

Nazreen Banu, Wong Tai Sin