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CAD's statement to media reports on PRD airspace

     In response to media reports concerning Pearl River Delta (PRD) airspace issues, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) today (March 10) gave the following statement:

     In order to meet the rapid growth of the aviation industry and the need for future expansion of the five airports (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Macau, Zhuhai and Guangzhou) in the PRD region, CAD, Civil Aviation Administration of China and Civil Aviation Authority of Macao jointly established the PRD Region Air Traffic Management Planning and Implementation Tripartite Working Group (TWG) in 2004. The objective of the TWG was to enhance the overall flight handling capacity of PRD airspace. During the period of 2004 to 2007, the TWG convened 10 meetings. Through the meticulous evaluation of fast time simulation and based on the principles of joint airspace planning, use of common standards and harmonised flight procedure design, the three sides jointly established the "Pearl River Delta Region Air Traffic Management Planning and Implementation Plan (Version 2.0)" (the Plan) in 2007. The Plan, which clearly stipulated the short, medium and long term optimisation targets and measures to be achieved and implemented before 2020, has taken into consideration the needs for additional runways, associated flight procedures and airspace design of all the airports in the region, which included the Three Runway System (3RS) at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and its compatibility with the development plan of neighbouring airports. The three sides had also agreed to optimise the use of airspace resources in PRD region through shared use of airspace and adoption of common units of measurement in a mutually beneficial manner. Enhancement measures in the Plan including new peripheral air routes in the PRD area, additional handover points between Air Traffic Control units and adjusted Zhuhai Terminal Airspace have been successfully implemented. The Plan aims to enhance the overall air traffic handling capacity of the PRD airspace. Under the principle of shared use of airspace, although the flight procedures of both sides (the Mainland and Hong Kong) will make use of a small portion of each other's airspace, both sides will utilise different flight altitude layers to facilitate air traffic control. Therefore, the ownership of the concerned airspace still belong to the original air traffic control unit and there is no intention for Hong Kong to expand its airspace up to Guangzhou or manage military flights. The most vital task for CAD is to continue the discussion with the Mainland and Macau aviation authorities through the TWG platform in order to take forward the enhancement items in the Plan in a progressive manner, and to tie over the development of the 3RS of the HKIA.

     Regarding the reports concerning Performance-based Navigation (PBN), as the objective of implementing PBN is to improve the flexibility of air traffic management through the enhancement of flight navigation accuracy and flight procedure efficiency, it does not lead to reduction of the approach or departure separation standard between aircraft or enhancement of runway capacity. In this regard, CAD has been implementing PBN procedures progressively in accordance with the guidance issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. In fact CAD has fully implemented PBN departure and arrival procedures at HKIA since January 2013. Currently most of the aircraft operating at HKIA are capable to conduct PBN procedures. PBN procedures are also implemented at Guangzhou and Shenzhen airports.

Ends/Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:51


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