Support grows for Hong Kong’s self-funded third runway

Cathay Pacific Airways has reiterated its “unequivocal support” for a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), the world’s top cargo hub, believing that the project can be self-funded.
Cathay Pacific chief executive Ivan Chu said: “There is an urgent need to move ahead with the third runway project as the airport is fast approaching its maximum runway capacity.
“It is certain that the airport will reach capacity well before a third runway could be built, which is of great concern when we are seeing increasing competition from other rapidly expanding hubs in the region.”
IATA Consulting estimates that, at a base-case level, HKIA will be receiving 102m passengers and 8.9m tonnes of cargo per year by 2030 while handling 607,000 flight movements. The practical capacity of the two-runway system is only 420,000 flight movements.
HKIA saw a 6.1 per cent rise in cargo traffic in 2014, handling over 4.3m tonnes for the year.
On funding of the third runway, Cathay Pacific supported the views presented by Tony Tyler, IATA director general and chief executive, who told a Hong Kong audience that there was “ample scope for the airport to borrow the capital needed through bonds or commercial loans”.
Tyler added: “Could a third runway be developed without increasing charges, without placing a burden on taxpayers, without making it more expensive for travellers, without adding an extra burden to shippers and while increasing the hub’s competitiveness?
“It’s an ambitious undertaking but I believe that the answer is yes.”
Cathay Pacific believes the construction of the third runway can be self-funded through existing income streams, especially as the number of passengers moving through the airport continues to grow.
Chu said: “Hong Kong International Airport is extremely successful. It is the world’s busiest airport for international freight and the third busiest in terms of international passenger traffic.
“The airport authority enjoys the highest net profit of any airport in the world and benefits from strong cash flows, a healthy balance sheet, and growing income from retail and aeronautical streams.”
He continued: “The airport authority is fully capable of financing the construction of the third runway through its own means without the need to impose additional financial burden on users. Charges must remain competitive to ensure continued growth for aviation, tourism and related industries.”

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