The popularity of e-commerce and surging exports from mainland China and the Pearl River Delta are reasons enough for DHL to issue a statement in support of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). DHL said it would like to see the project begin as early as next year.
HKIA cargo volume increased from 1.63 million tonnes in 1998 to 4.38 million in 2014, making the need for a third runway evident. Trading and logistics make up 23.9 percent of Hong Kong’s GDP, so it is no surprise that HKIA’s capacity crunch has prompted studies and planning for a third runway.
HKIA said that if work can start in 2016, a third 3,800-meter runway could be a reality in eight years. It’s a complex project, since 650 hectares of land will have to be created, using non-dredge methods, to increase the size of Lantau Island, on which the airport now sits. The total cost to build the runway is estimated at US$18.77 billion, with US$4.75 billion of that for land formation.
DHL’s most recent Global Connectedness Index, which measures a region’s international flow of goods relative to the size of its domestic economy, found that Hong Kong is ranked 11th globally, driven by strong exports from mainland China. E-commerce in mainland China grew by 31 percent, y-o-y, to €1.95 trillion in 2014, the report said, as mainland China’s consumers increasingly turn to online shopping.
One major concern for a third runway is airspace in South China, which could confine the efficiency of the new runway. However, the country’s Housing and Transport Bureau said a plan was drawn up in 2007 to optimize airspace and enhance safety, which was supported by officials in China, Hong Kong and Macau. The Civil Aviation Administration of China is expediting implementation of the 2007 plan and also supports the new runway plan.