With plans to build a third airport runway at Chek Lap Kok more than a few obstacles will need to be overcome.
Environmental activists have applied for a judicial review to block the project until a thorough environmental impact assessment report has been carried out.
It is impossible to say which way the court will rule, however John Tsang Chun-wah stated in his budget speech that construction would start in 2016 with the new runway being operational in by 2023.
Despite the governments seeming confidence it faces another obstacle in financing the project.
The Airport Authority has reportedly forecast a HK$140 billion bill for the runway: An option being taken into account is to charge passengers an “improvement’ fee of HK$150 to HK$200 per flight.
Approval by lawmakers wouldn’t be required since the proposed third runway fee doesn’t involve government spending, so the authority could proceed on its own. although there is some opposition from within the industry itself.
Yesterday a luncheon speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, International Air Transport Association director general Tony Tyler brought up the funding issue for the third runway, after initially showering praise on the airport and its importance to the Hong Kong economy
How can the huge cost for the project be covered? Tyler believes it is possible to cover the cost without charging taxpayers, travelers or shippers anything extra.
It would not be logical to ask passengers to pay for a third runway when it hasn’t even been built yet. Other option will need to be considered in order to raise the capital to fund the project. The authority could try to raise the required capital via bonds and commercial loans to fund the project.