Plans to privatise the Airport Authority will be shelved for at least a couple of years, until the merger between the MTR Corp and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation has been completed, according to a senior government source. 'The reasons for privatising or partially privatising the airport no longer exist,' he said. 'We do not need a large amount of cash at the moment and we do not need to improve the efficiency of the airport much. It's operated well, everybody likes it. 'There's also a general feeling that we should do this after the merger between the MTR Corp and KCRC is completed.' The government had been planning to privatise the airport, which cost $30.7 billion to build, for several years. A consultation was conducted last year on a partial privatisation. It was abandoned after 69 industry bodies and citizens expressed concerns, ranging from a lack of clarity on the reasons for the move to how future user charges would be governed. Airlines and their shareholders were not in favour of the sale, with Cathay, Dragonair, Citic Pacific and Swire Pacific all stating reservations. Many others questioned whether it was wise to sell part of an airport that had yet to provide a return on the public investment, especially since its earnings momentum was growing. The Airport Authority posted record results in every air traffic category last year.