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Hong Kong Needs Third Runway

Special Report - Infrastructure

Public consultation has opened on Hong Kong’s proposed third runway. IATA has reiterated its support for the project.

In 2010, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) served over 50 million passengers and handled more than four million tonnes of cargo. Although a $900 million midfield terminal will help ease congestion, it’s a third runway that counts.

IATA believes the Hong Kong International Airport forecast of 3.2% per annum traffic growth 2008-2030 is too conservative. At Hong Kong, compound annual growth averaged 4.8% in the past 20 years and growth rates for airports in mainland China are famously bullish. It’s likely the 74 million ppa capacity under the two-runway system will be exceeded sooner rather than later.

“That’s a serious issue for Hong Kong’s economy,” says Tony Tyler, IATA Director General and CEO. “To remain a great place for businesses to serve the region, Hong Kong must be supported with investment to stay ahead of the curve on capacity.”

Aviation employs 250,000 people and supports 8% of Hong Kong’s GDP. There are 3,500 regional offices based in Hong Kong employing 140,000 people who are dependent on efficient air links.
Like Dubai, Hong Kong has a local airspace issue. The Pearl River Delta is a complex area with five airports. Although there have been several improvements—in 2009, 210km was knocked off the main arrival routes and last year 10 conditional routes on the mainland side helped with further savings—the area still ranks among the world’s top air traffic issues.


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