With a new air bridge, an open-air roof garden and floor-to-ceiling green landscaping, Hong Kong is making a big push to raise its competitiveness. The HK$7 billion enhancement project for Terminal 1 would bring “a fresh look and feel,” Airport Authority CEO Fred Lam Tin-fuk said. New features include themed boarding gate areas, replacing grey carpets with blue ones, the introduction of specialist concept stores and an expanded food hall. The authority also provided more details on its air bridge , which is planned to include an observation deck looking like a traditional Chinese gateway. At 200 metres, the Sky Bridge connecting Terminal 1 with the North Satellite Concourse will be longer than the connecting bridge at Gatwick Airport near London, but slightly lower at 28 metres in height. But it will still be high enough to allow the world’s biggest passenger planes to pass underneath. The North Satellite Concourse, which provides 10 parking stands, has drawn ridicule since it was built in 2010 for its isolated location, with shuttle buses providing the only means of access. Asked why the bridge was not built back then, Lam said the traffic on the apron was far less than anticipated. “Obviously as the apron became more congested, it’s no longer efficient for operation,” he said, adding buses currently have to wait up to 30 minutes before the aircraft traffic clears before moving off. He hoped the bridge would eliminate the 400 shuttle bus trips made per day, but admitted there was no estimate of how it would boost efficiency. The changes will start to be noticed later this year when retail stores are revamped. There will be expanded dining choices from next year until 2019, when the expanded departure and arrival facility opens. The airport bridge will be finished in 2020. Lam said the HK$7 billion cost would be covered by the authority. “We do invest in our airport from time to time, and there will be adequate internal resources to finance that,” he said. The airport is aiming to host 90 million passengers by the time the airport’s new third runway opens in 2024. Hong Kong maintained fifth position in the world in the Skytrax World Airport Awards. Singapore’s Changi Airport retained top honours for the fourth straight year, finishing ahead of Tokyo Haneda, Seoul Incheon and Munich. Hong Kong came first for dining and in the top 10 for hotels, shopping, cleanliness and staff services.