A third runway is not being considered as part of the expansion of Chek Lap Kok, Airport Authority chief executive Dr Hank Townsend said yesterday. The Sunday Morning Post said this week that a third runway was being considered. He told members of Thursday's Airport Consultative Committee meeting: 'We are looking hard at expansion beyond the northern runway' that was agreed between Britain and China last week. Dr Townsend said this referred to the expansion of passenger terminal facilities including a star-shaped mid-field satellite and another terminal in front of the main 490,000-square-metre building now under construction. In a statement, Dr Townsend said: 'We have never said that we need a third runway. A third runway is not under consideration.' But committee member Heinz Rust last night said Secretary for Economic Services Gordon Siu Kwing-chue had referred to a third runway in a meeting last year. 'I asked what would happen when Chek Lap Kok reached capacity. In an off-the-cuff remark Gordon Siu said they would build a third runway,' Mr Rust said. 'The second runway will reach capacity in 2005 if not 2010. Something should be done now,' he said. He plans to raise the issue at the group's development committee meeting soon. Democratic Party infrastructure spokesman Albert Chan Wai-yip said the idea of a third runway was raised at least three years ago. He said the issue arose in talks he had with Dick Allen, the former chief executive of the Provisional Airport Authority, who left in early 1993. 'We discussed what was going to happen after saturation. The issue of the third runway was raised then and the authority said it did not rule out the possibility.'