A LEADING Hongkong businessman has expressed reservations about Beijing's plan to invite local business to invest in and manage Shenzhen's airport as a replacement for Chek Lap Kok. Mr Vincent Lo Hong-sui said he told senior Chinese officials that he had doubts about whether Hongkong businessmen would be prepared to invest in Huangtian airport, regardless of the outcome of the stalled talks on the new airport. His concern comes as the fate of Chek Lap Kok remains unclear because of the Sino-British row over the Governor Mr Chris Patten's political reforms. Mr Lo, who is a Hongkong affairs adviser and a member of the Provisional Airport Authority, believes Beijing has been seriously considering Huangtian as an alternative to Chek Lap Kok, as he has been consulted by some Chinese officials on the plan, whichwould cost $30 billion. ''Unless the Chinese Government clearly declares that there will not be a new airport in Hongkong for a definite period, say 20 years, it will be very difficult for the consortiums to invest billions of dollars to develop the Huangtian airport which is incomparable to Chek Lap Kok airport,'' said Mr Lo, who is head of the Shui On group which has invested in several airport projects. Mr Lo also warned that replacing the new airport with Huangtian airport would strike a serious blow to the morale of the civil servants, especially those in charge of the airport projects. ''It is doubtful if the Huangtian airport project can attract so many experts and talent from outside to take part in its development compared with the Chek Lap Kok airport project. ''A lack of expertise in Shenzhen will also affect the confidence of the international community over the future standard of the Huangtian airport,'' he said. Mr Lo, who is also chairman of the conservative Business and Professionals Federation, said his group would submit a paper to the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office to explain the limitations of the Huangtian airport proposal during a visit to Beijing later this month. Hongkong affairs adviser, Mr Wong Po-yan, who is also chairman of the Airport Consultative Committee, also held reservations over Huangtian replacing Chek Lap Kok airport. He said that Huangtian and Chek Lap Kok airports should be developed simultaneously. However, Mr Wong supported Shenzhen's plan to expand the Huangtian airport because of the growing demands in China. ''The expansion of Huangtian airport will also help to ease the saturation pressure at Kai Tak airport,'' he said. Informed Chinese sources said the Shenzhen authorities had expressed reservations over the proposal. Shenzhen party secretary, Mr Li Hao, said the Shenzhen authorities would be willing to serve Hongkong's needs if Kai Tak's capacity became saturated. Asked to comment on the feasibility of Huangtian being turned into a replacement airport for Hongkong, Mr Li said: ''This question is not so simple. But there should not be any problem for Shenzhen and Hongkong to jointly use Huangtian airport.'' Shenzhen mayor Mr Li Youwei said Huangtian airport could help ease the pressure on Kai Tak, but he stressed Hongkong should co-ordinate with Shenzhen in using Huangtian. Mr Li added it was possible for Hongkong people to manage the Huangtian airport if it was the central government's decision. But Mr Li said the Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office had not yet discussed the proposal to expand Huangtian with Shenzhen authorities. ''Hongkong investors are welcome to invest in the Huangtian airport. The airport can be jointly managed by the Chinese side and foreign investors or wholly managed by the foreign investors,'' Mr Li said. Deputy director of the Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office Mr Wang Qiren said there was no decision to replace Chek Lap Kok airport with Huangtian and officials were listening to opinions from Hongkong affairs advisers. Director Mr Lu Ping said Beijing was studying the viability of a Hongkong proposal from Mr Wang Liang-huew to upgrade Shenzhen airport as a replacement airport for Hongkong. But China still hoped the British side would uphold the Memorandum of Understanding over the airport, said Mr Lu. ''This proposal will not be feasible unless Huangtian airport will be managed by Hongkong people and used by Hongkong. ''If this proposal is adopted, Huangtian airport will not be an airport of Shenzhen, it will become Hongkong's Huangtian airport. Mr Chen Baoying, deputy director of the Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office Research Institute, said the Huangtian airport could be managed by Hongkong people while it was still within Shenzhen's jurisdiction. ''The Shenzhen authorities in charge of the Huangtian airport have been conducting discussions with Hongkong consortiums on the proposal to allow Hongkong to participate in the airport's management,'' Mr Chen said. He said immigration procedures across the Shenzhen-Hongkong border would be simplified to reduce inconvenience in travel between Hongkong and Huangtian. Mr Chen said Huangtian could not completely replace Chek Lap Kok airport although it could help ease pressure on Kai Tak.