Beijing fully supports the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport, the mainland’s civil aviation chief Li Jiaxing said yesterday.
Li gave the project the stamp of approval when visiting transport secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung called on him yesterday.
Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office deputy director Zhou Bo also told Cheung he supported the controversial third runway.
This implies Beijing will back Hong Kong for the rights to use Shenzhen airspace – one of the issues lawmakers and concerned parties used to block funding for the runway.
Cheung visited Li and other Civil Aviation Administration of China officials in Beijing yesterday before paying a visit to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.
“Li said he fully supported Hong Kong to continue to consolidate and enhance its status as an international aviation hub and also expressed full support for the network plan for the third runway,” Cheung said.
“In the process, we both agreed to address the needs for the common development of each airport in the region.”
He said the next step was for the tripartite working group made up of CAAC, Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department and Civil Aviation Authority of Macau to cooperate and enact measures set out under the 2007 Pearl River Delta airspace management plan.
Cheung said it is hoped the airports in the region can push for airspace cooperation in the delta in a pragmatic manner.
“In the Pearl River region there are several airports, including Hong Kong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an Airport, Macau International Airport and Zhuhai Jinwan Airport,” Cheung said.
“There is a need for further development by these airports because air traffic in the PRD region is growing rapidly and all airports are facing a strong demand and need for further development.
“To better utilize the airspace in the PRD, the key is improving management and coordination, and that definitely needs the full cooperation of several airports and relevant government departments.”
Under the Airport Authority’s plan, a three-runway system would handle up to 100 million passengers and about nine million tonnes of cargo per year by 2030.
The authority’s three-runway system was given the green light by the Executive Council on March 17. It could be completed by 2023 if construction begins next year.
Departing passengers will be charged HK$180 from next year and airlines a further 15 percent more to help fund the runway.