Third runway plan for Hong Kong gets green light – and risk to rare pink dolphins
Hong Kong’s Executive Council has, in principle, endorsed the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong International, according to the official Hong Kong government website. This means the airport authority can proceed with an environmental impact assessment, plan design details and financial arrangements. The EIA needs to look at marine ecology, noise and air quality and is expected to take two years. “The government wants the authority to complete the assessment, design and financial options by the end of 2014 so the runway can be built by 2023.” The runway is expected to cost $136 billion and involve the reclamation of 650 hectares of land from the sea.
Pink dolphins “threatened” by HK airport expansion
- April 9, 2012
In Hong Kong, the SAR government has approved a proposal to build a new runway at Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest. But with the airport originally built on mostly re-claimed land, concerns are growing over the impact the expansion could have on the local environment.
Hong Kong’s international airport – It can handle one arrival or departure every 53 seconds, but if the airport has its way, it’ll speed up that pace to one about every 30, thanks to 18 billion dollars third runway. The challenge: Can that be done without hurting the environment?
And Hong Kong’s airport has big growth plans on the board through 2030. But before ground can be broken for a new runway, ground first needs to exist. And this near-threatened species, commonly known as the Chinese pink dolphin, would be threatened even more.
Tak Ching Ho, tour coordinator of Hong Kong Dolphin Watch, said, “We don’t want to have the runway because once the land is being taken over by humans, dolphins will not be able to use that area any more.”
Tak Ching Ho is a tour coordinator at Hong Kong Dolphin Watch. Over the past decade, she’s taken thousands of people to see the dolphins. Tak Ching Ho said, “It will lie right in the middle of this straight area, so that means the dolphins will no longer be able to use this area to travel.”
Ho adds, only about 100 resident pink dolphins are left in local waters, thanks to water pollution and boat propellers.
Tak Ching Ho said, “I think that seems to be a dead dolphin.” Ho has spotted this bloated carcass, the first this year. Tak Ching Ho said, “I’m feeling so sad about it. Yeah. I don’t want to sit, really. I wish that they are always happy, and”
Ho’s tears are a testament to her fear: the pink dolphin’s extinction. Other environmental challenges include increased water pollution, air traffic for more passengers and car traffic, and of course, more noise pollution from more planes. These all dog HongKong’s third runway plans.
And if all the economic and environmental issues can be bridged, the first plans to use the third runway will take to the skies by 2023.
Hong Kong government endorses third runway
March 21, 2012 (ATW)
Hong Kong’s Executive Council has—in principle at least—endorsed the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong International (HKI), according to the official Hong Kong government website (ATW Daily News, Jan. 4).
The endorsement means the airport authority can proceed with an environmental impact assessment, plan design details and financial arrangements, Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng told media Tuesday. The government has asked the authority to conduct the environmental study in a strict and professional manner, looking at marine ecology, noise and air quality. The assessment is expected to take two years.
“The government wants the authority to complete the assessment, design and financial options by the end of 2014 so the runway can be built by 2023,” news.gov.hk said, adding that the forecast cost of the facility is $136 billion. It will also involve the reclamation of 650 hectares of land from the sea.
A high-level steering committee will be set up to work with the authority on the project, along with a dedicated team led by the associated policy bureau, which is a sign of high level commitment for the project.
Cheng emphasized the need for long-term planning for the airport, as air traffic last year had already reached the forecast demand for 2013, as stated in the HIK Master Plan 2030.
Third runway plan for Hong Kong gets green light
By David Badger
20 Mar 2012 (IFW)
Cathay Pacific welcomes government approval for expansion as it spends billions on home hub
Cathay Pacific Airways has welcomed the Hong Kong government’s approval of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
The in-principle approval follows strong public support for the three-runway option and the recommendation to proceed by the Airport Authority of Hong Kong.
Cathay CEO John Slosar said: “We firmly believe the third runway is of critical importance to the sustainability of the Hong Kong economy. A third runway is the only viable option to ensure its long-term competitiveness.”
The airline group, which includes Dragonair, is itself making significant investments to its home hub in Hong Kong, including more than 90 new aircraft, an order worth around HK$90 billion (US$11.6bn), due for delivery up to the end of the decade.
It also has a HK$5.7 billion cargo terminal scheduled to open in early 2013 and is spending more than HK$3 billion on new products in the air and on the ground, plus plans to hire approximately 1,000 cabin crew, 300 pilots and 600 ground staff this year.
The news of the HK government’s approval of the three-runway option at HKIA comes as UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced today that he is to re-consider options to expand runway capacity in south-east England – options that include a previously rejected third runway at Heathrow.