(CTN NEWS) – On November 25, Cathay Pacific formally opened the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).
The addition of the runway significantly increases the airport’s capacity for cargo and passenger air traffic, enabling it to grow into a more significant hub for regional air travel.
Since July, on average, 140 planes per day have taken off from the runway.
The official commissioning was delayed until yesterday because of pandemic restrictions and scheduling issues.
There was a ceremony at the airport to commission the runway. A Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 made the first touchdown on the officially opened runway after a protracted trip from Perth, Australia.
The airport fire brigade saluted flight number CX170 from Perth with water.
The airport’s capacity has grown significantly due to the new runway.
The three-runway system will considerably increase the capacity of HKIA to handle passengers and cargo, according to Chan Kwok-ki, the Chief Secretary of the Administration at HKG.
“With the clear benefits of the motherland’s strong support and our connectedness to the rest of the globe, Hong Kong will preserve and grow its reputation as a major international aviation centre.”
Since demand for air travel has been gradually increasing over the past 10 years, the airport added the runway to increase capacity.
At HKG, air transit levels drastically decreased when the pandemic struck. Many cargo operations at the airport carried on during this time, but passenger transport was nonexistent.
However, as COVID-19 numbers have continuously decreased, travel restrictions have been laxer, enabling more people to once again cross the globe by airline.
At HKG, certain limitations are still in effect, but passenger traffic has dramatically increased. By the end of 2023, airport traffic is anticipated to be between 60 and 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
The airport forecasts that in 2024, the passenger volume will equal that of 2019. Executives at the airport anticipate more growth in demand during the ensuing years, necessitating an expansion of the airport’s capacity.
The airport is trying to stay ahead of this demand curve by adding this new runway.
In August 2016, work on the new runway started. The 12,000-foot runway required more than 1,600 acres of land to build, taking about four years.
The project is a component of a much bigger airport initiative to increase terminal 2 capacity.
Once finished, the airport will have an automated people mover, a baggage handling system, and an additional concourse.
2024 is the projected completion date for the project. The project will reportedly cost $18.2 billion in total.
Unusually, the project has received no money from the government and has only been supported by the private sector. Jack So, the Airport Authority’s chairman, said:
“There is no government funding involved; the initiative was funded privately. This demonstrates that the banking industry, funds, and worldwide financial community have faith in Hong Kong and its airport.”
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