WORK on the airport core programme is progressing, with more than $90 billion worth of contracts awarded, according to the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office.
Office director Billy Lam Chun-lun said 68 per cent of the Government works on the programme was complete at the end of August.
Construction of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok was 42 per cent complete and the airport railway was 17 per cent complete.
'The seven Government projects as well as the Western Harbour Crossing will be on target for completion by mid-1997,' Mr Lam said. 'The airport will be opened in April 1998 and the airport railway in June 1998.' Mr Lam told the Australian General Chamber of Commerce yesterday, the projects received a significant boost in June when Britain and China signed financial support agreements for the airport and airport railway.
The lion's share of work has been awarded to Japanese firms which have signed up for about 25 per cent of construction value.
Next were Hong Kong firms, with 23 per cent, Britain with 16 per cent and China with seven per cent.
The biggest deals were those for the $10.1 billion airport passenger terminal which has gone to the BCJ joint venture, a $3.5 billion order to Lantau Expressway joint venture for part of the Lantau expressway, and Downer-McAlpine-Paul Y for the $2.6 billion construction of the airport runway.
'We operate a fair and open tender system with a level playing field for all contractors, and contracts are awarded strictly on the basis of value for money,' Mr Lam said.
He said the Government had been trying to strike a balance between the demand for workers for the core projects and the interests of local workers.