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Study endorses third runway at HKIA

By control on January 4, 2012

A study conducted by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong found that more than 70 percent of respondents favor a three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport. Airport Authority Hong Kong, which ordered the probe, called the findings “very encouraging.”

The Centre was tasked with collecting and analyzing data obtained during Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030, which took place from June 3 to September 2. And the consensus among respondents was overwhelming, according to a HKIA press release.

Of the 24,242 questionnaires received, 73 percent endorsed the construction of a third runway at HKIA. The remaining responses showed conflicting opinions, with 17 percent maintaining neutrality and 11 percent electing to keep a two-runway system.

Moreover, 80 percent of respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the airport authority should make a prompt decision about HKIA’s proposed expansion; only 6 percent opposed this.

AAHK Chairman Marvin Cheung Kin-tung said the highly favorable response has led the airport authority to promote a three-runway system to its governing body.

“The board carefully considered all the feedback, and based on these deliberations, it has submitted its recommendation to government to adopt the three-runway option as the future development blueprint for HKIA for planning purposes,” Cheung said in a statement. “We look forward to receiving government’s support for our recommendations and hope that a decision will be made as soon as practicable.”

Mark Whitehead, managing director of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd., applauds this action, remarking that a third runway is “vital” to HKIA’s health. “HKIA is approaching saturation,” he stated. “Only by providing airlines with space to grow will Hong Kong retain its existing airline base and also attract new airline customers.”

If not, Whitehead fears, other airports could gain momentum on HKIA. “And we will not stand still,” he said, “but slide backwards into decline.

“The findings of this report clearly reflect the widespread realization that HKIA is key to our community’s prosperity, and that it must be allowed to develop in a responsible fashion,” Whitehead said in a statement. “Hactl totally supports this view.”

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