Airport to build HK$3 billion short cut for passengers using Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge
Project will complement shuttle bus service from Hong Kong International Airport to the Pearl River Delta as operator bids to attract more mainland Chinese customers
Hong Kong’s airport operator announced on Thursday that it will build a HK$3 billion link to a customs centre on an artificial island that will serve as a short cut for passengers travelling to and from mainland China on a cross-border mega bridge.
The project will complement a shuttle bus providing a direct service from Hong Kong International Airport to the Pearl River Delta, via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
The Airport Authority, which will fund the project entirely, said work would start on the 360-metre bridge in 2020, as long as environmental permits were approved.
Faced with competition for international flights from Guangzhou and Shenzhen’s airports, Hong Kong’s airport operator is under pressure to attract more mainland Chinese passengers.
“We are going to improve our services as much as we can because we are going to serve all Hong Kong citizens and Pearl River Delta people,” said Ricky Leung Wing-kei, deputy director of engineering and technology for theauthority, as he unveiled the bridge building and coach service plan.
The airport already has a variety of Hong Kong-mainland transport links.
More than 2 million travellers used the more than 500 daily coach and luxury car services to travel between HKIA and Shenzhen. An airport ferry service which connects nine cities across the Pearl River Delta served 2.6 million passengers in 2015-16, according to the Airport Authority.
Leung said he believed the coach service would be as attractive to passengers as the ferry, complementing and not cannibalising sea services.
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“That is why we would like to repeat our model of the [ferry] connection and expand our service to allow more passengers to use this facility. Passengers can cut their journey time from their originating mainland city to the airport,” he added.
It was “very difficult” to estimate the number of new travellers using the service, Leung said.
The Airport Authority later said it expected up to 6,000 passengers a day – or 2.2 million annually – to use this service spread between 850 coach services and 100 limousine trips.
Some 70.5 million travellers passed through HKIA last year, including 4.6 million cross-border passengers.
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Passengers boarding coaches from Zhuhai and Macau would pass through mainland immigration and customs onto sealed buses that would transport air passengers directly into the expanded ferry building once the new bridge is constructed.
The coaches could park next to the airport’s ferry terminal and use the airport’s underground train system to move people straight into the restricted area of the airport without going through immigration and customs checks again.
Airport chiefs and officials are still working on plans to set-up passenger check-in, baggage and ticketing facilities for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on Zhuhai’s offshore island – but said this would not impact the new bridge project.