Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
ExCo approves in principle AA's recommendation to adopt three-runway system as future development option

     The Chief Executive in Council has today (March 20) carefully considered the report on future development plans for the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), submitted by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) to the Government at the end of last year, and approved in principle the AA's recommendation to adopt the option of expanding into a three-runway system as the future development option for HKIA for planning purposes.

     The Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, said that meant the AA could proceed with the next stage of planning related to the development of the three-runway system, which includes in particular the statutory environmental impact assessment, the associated design details and the financial arrangements.

     Ms Cheng said, "Hong Kong is an international and regional aviation centre. We all agree that HKIA is not merely a piece of transport infrastructure. It also plays a significant role in Hong Kong's overall economy as air connectivity is crucial to our competitiveness. The better Hong Kong is connected to the world, the greater various trades and sectors stand to benefit. Various sectors such as financial services, insurance, professional services, trading and logistics, high-value-added manufacturing, tourism, retail and exhibitions stand to gain from the economic activities generated by our airport.

     "On the other hand, if the airport runs out of capacity, airlines will have to reduce their routes, destinations and flights. We cannot afford to lose Hong Kong's position as the international and regional aviation hub."

     Ms Cheng pointed out that as a matter of fact HKIA had been developing rapidly over the past years. In 2011, the actual air traffic at HKIA already reached the forecast for traffic demand in 2013 as stated in the HKIA Master Plan 2030. That was two years earlier than expected and hence there was a pressing need to map out long-term planning for the airport.

     She said that, as shown by the outcome of the public consultation exercise on the Master Plan 2030, the contributions of HKIA to Hong Kong have been widely recognised by the public. The general public was very supportive of the continual expansion of the airport and preferred to adopt the three-runway option as the future development option for HKIA.

     Ms Cheng said, "While we understand that airport development is essential for Hong Kong to maintain its position as an international business hub, infrastructural development must comply with existing regulations and the public is also highly concerned about the environmental impact brought about by the expansion of the airport. In this regard, the Government has requested the AA to proceed with the statutory environmental impact assessment with great care and in the most professional manner. They must carefully study issues of concern, such as marine ecology, noise and air quality. It is of vital importance that all possible measures to avoid or mitigate such impacts must be explored to address public demand."

     It is estimated that the whole environmental impact assessment process will take about two years. At the same time, the AA will carry out the scheme design of the project. The final construction cost will be revised subject to the outcome of the environmental impact assessment and the associated design. After that, proposals on the financing arrangements will be worked out.

     The AA will report to the Government upon completion of the aforesaid work. The Government will then assess in detail all relevant considerations, including the statutory environmental impact assessment submitted by the AA, associated design details, financing arrangements and views from the community, before making the final decision on whether the option of expanding into a three-runway system should be adopted.

     Ms Cheng said, as the development of the three-runway system involves a whole host of environmental, engineering and funding issues, there is a need for the Government to closely steer the work of the AA to ensure that the work ahead would be undertaken in the most effective way.

     In order to enable the Government to discharge its functions, the Government will proceed to set up a high-level steering committee to provide direction to the AA and a dedicated team led by the relevant policy bureau to support the steering committee and undertake the daily monitoring and co-ordination work.

     Ms Cheng emphasised that the Government and the AA would work closely together to ensure the planning work related to the three-runway system option would be taken forward as soon as possible, in order to maintain HKIA's position as an aviation hub and to create favourable conditions for Hong Kong's economic development.

Ends/Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:18


Print this page