Hong Kong's second airport terminal, officially opened yesterday, is expected to be handling 4,000 passengers a day soon, once two more airlines move in, airport chiefs say.
The 140,000-square-metre terminal currently resembles a large shopping centre, with more than 130 shops and restaurants.
The HK$2.8 billion terminal is an extension of the main passenger terminal. Although it provides check-in services, passengers still need to go to the main terminal to board flights.
Since trial operations began in February, only two airlines - Oasis Hong Kong Airlines and Emirates - have moved to Terminal 2.
The Airport Authority hopes the new terminal can ease congestion at the main terminal. It estimates the terminal could handle up to 15 per cent of passengers.
Authority chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung yesterday announced that Thai Airways International and Qatar Airways would soon provide check-in services there.
Mr Hui said the authority appreciated difficulties faced by shopkeepers at Terminal 2 as a result of low passenger flow. 'From March to August, we are waiving their rents,' he said.
Mr Hui would not say which other airlines could be moving in, but expected 3,000 to 4,000 passengers a day would use Terminal 2 once Thai Airways and Qatar Airways did so.
The terminal forms part of the SkyCity development, intended to turn the airport area into a commercial complex. Other features include a golf course, cross-border ferry terminal and a new airport hotel.
Speaking at last night's opening ceremony, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen praised the design of Terminal 2, and said it could become an asset for Chinese companies wanting to take their products to the world.
'The multimodal transport interchange ... will greatly enhance the attractiveness of our airport as the major international passenger and air-cargo hub serving the Pearl River Delta,' he said.
After checking in at Terminal 2, departing passengers then clear immigration, customs and security screening before travelling on an automated train to boarding gates in Terminal 1