Hong Kong Airport Authority to launch study into fourth runway

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 3:21pm

Hong Kong must face the question of whether a fourth airport runway will be needed by 2030, in a new strategic study, the transport minister said on Monday.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, secretary for transport and housing, told lawmakers in the commerce and economic development panel that the Airport Authority would launch a study about the strategic development of the airport beyond 2030.

“It will be a preliminary study into a development strategy beyond the 30’s,” said Cheung.

“Developments in Asian transport facilities will be examined, but the question of whether a fourth runway is needed will be unavoidable in the strategic study,” he said.

Last March the Executive Council supported the building of a third runway in principle. The authority is currently working on the environmental impact assessment for that project, which will involve reclaiming 600 hectares of land from the sea.

But the third runway will absorb the projected increase in air traffic demand only until 2030. The project is backed by the aviation industry but has drawn heavy criticism from environmental groups.

Cheung said the airport would continue to increase its handling capacity before the third runway was completed. By the end of next year, the airport will add 14 new aprons – areas where aircraft are parked, refuelled, boarded and so forth.