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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

Plans afoot to allow passengers direct travel from Zhuhai to Hong Kong airport across mega bridge

Parcel of land set aside on artificial island off Zhuhai for Airport Authority to set up passenger check-in and ticketing facilities, including coach service

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 10:46pm

Plans to allow travellers to check in and take a shuttle bus across the mega bridge from Zhuhai directly to Hong Kong’s airport are gathering pace, the Post understands.

A parcel of land has been reserved by the Zhuhai government on an artificial island off the mainland city for the Hong Kong Airport Authority to use.

This would pave the way for the setting up of passenger check-in and ticketing facilities for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on Zhuhai’s offshore island, a source familiar with the matter said.

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The facilities would also increase the prospects of a viable shuttle bus service being operated for transit passengers across the bridge.

Completion of the Hong Kong section of the bridge project has been delayed for a year until the end of this year.

The arrangement comes as the Pearl River Delta becomes the focus of Beijing’s Greater Bay Area development plan, bringing together Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong.

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Coupled with the enhanced transport links, the bridge and coach service would attract more air travellers from the west of the Pearl River Delta, further raising Hong Kong’s competitiveness against airports in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

An aviation insider, who was not authorised to speak on the matter but had knowledge of Zhuhai plans to integrate the airport and the bridge, said: “Inside the customs, immigration and quarantine building on the Zhuhai offshore island, they have already left space for HKIA to do check-in and ticketing and develop a bonded coach service.”

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The coaches could park next to the airport’s ferry terminal and use existing facilities to move people into the restricted area of the airport.

Meanwhile, Zhuhai Airport is developing similar plans for a bonded cargo service to handle and transport freight for Hong Kong airport, subject to approval by the authorities in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

An Airport Authority spokesman said: “We keep close communications with relevant authorities on the future arrangements for facilitating traffic between the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and HKIA, and details are yet to be confirmed.”

Negotiations between the Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau and its mainland counterparts over the bridge and related transport services have been going on for two years. The bureau referred all inquiries to the Airport Authority.

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A more formal announcement on the plan is expected at a later date.

Some 70.5 million travellers passed through HKIA last year, including 4.6 million cross-border passengers.

In December last year, to cater for further growth in land and sea services, Cathay Pacific Airways and Cathay Dragon became the first airlines to expand their sea-to-air facilities for travellers with check-in and bag-drop facilities at Shekou ferry port in western Shenzhen.

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A transit ferry service connecting nine cities across the Pearl River Delta with the airport remained popular. A total of 2.6 million passengers used the service in 2015-16, according to the Airport Authority.

Similarly, 2 million travellers used the more than 500 daily coach and luxury car services to travel between HKIA and Shenzhen.

The coach service would boost traffic usage across the multibillion-dollar bridge, which has been hit by construction delays, industrial accidents and controversy over faked concrete test results.