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Hong Kong aviation

New bridge planned for Hong Kong airport so tall A380s can pass underneath

Airlines welcome proposal for walkway which would connect main airport building to an isolated terminal, saying it will further improve passenger experience at one of world’s most highly rated airports

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 May, 2017, 8:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 12:22pm

Boarding a bus to catch a plane at Hong Kong International Airport could soon be a thing of the past with plans afoot to build a bridge across the airfield.

Currently, any passengers travelling on flights from an isolated terminal called the North Satellite Concourse, must be ferried to or from the main airport building by a shuttle bus.

The Airport Authority has invited bids to build a structure linking the two buildings. The tender contract was expected to be issued in the third quarter of 2017 and construction would take at least two years.

Airlines have welcomed the proposal, saying it would further improve the passenger experience at one of the world’s most highly rated airports.

Few details have been made public, though the bridge could cost at least HK$2 billion, based on previous creations and factoring inflation and higher construction costs locally.

A similar bridge at London’s Gatwick Airport, built in 2009, cost £110 million (HK$1.1 billion). It is the world’s biggest bridge inside an airport, at 194 metres long, 32 metres high – enough to give clearance to the Airbus A380 aircraft, the world’s largest passenger plane. Gatwick Airport said the bridge saves 55,000 transfer bus journeys a year.

The proposed elevated walkway at Hong Kong airport has been specified to also accommodate retail facilities – a strategy that has proven a huge cash cow for the airport – as well as moving walkways, lifts and escalators.

Luke Lovegrove, commercial director at budget airline HK ­Express, hailed the plans.

“Hong Kong prides itself on iconic building designs – just look at the skyline which also features as part of our logo.

“It’s great news that Hong Kong airport is at the cutting edge of innovative design with their new air-bridge concept.”

A spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon said: “We welcome all new initiatives that strengthen the infrastructure and facilities at Hong Kong International Airport, which provides more convenience to our passengers, further improving their airport journey experience.”

An Airport Authority spokesman said: “We have nothing to supplement other than what is on the website [in the tender document]”.

Last year, the authority made a profit of HK$9.7 billion (US$1.2 billion), making Hong Kong the world’s most profitable airport. HKIA also retained fifth spot in the world’s best airport rankings as voted by passengers.

Hong Kong airport is in the early stages of a wider expansion. A land reclamation project for a third runway, which is expected to cost HK$141 billion, is due to be completed by 2024.

The main departure and arrival concourse is being enlarged and a 25-hectare shopping complex, Skycity, is also being built on the island.