Departing passengers will pay around £8 – 16 tax till perhaps 2031 to fund 3rd Hong Kong airport runway

Outbound and transit passengers will pay up to between a bout £8 and £16 (HK$ 90 -180) to fund the construction of Hong Kong airport’s third runway system from August 1st. Initial reclamation work for the project is scheduled to start on the same day. The airport construction fee for short-haul economy departing passengers will be HK$90, and in first or business class, HK$160. For long-haul passengers, the fee for economy will be HK$160 and first or business class HK$180. Short haul economy passengers will pay HK$70. The costs would remain at the same level, but continue till the runway is fully paid for, which may be till 2031. Meanwhile, People’s Aviation Watch, an organisation opposing expensive infrastructure projects at the airport, said a judicial review to challenge the environmental impact assessment report for the runway will be heard in court this July. They say the Airport Authority’s decision to charge the fees before any verdict on the start of the runway disregards the law. But in March opponents lost a bid to legally challenge the ability of the airport to charge for the runway. A total of five judicial review cases or appeals against the runway are being planned. The new runway is likely to increase CO2 emissions by about 50%, and create serious noise pollution for some areas. 



Air passengers to be charged up to HK$180 to fund third runway amid legal challenges

Outbound and transit passengers will pay up to HK$180 to fund the construction of Hong Kong airport’s third runway system from August 1. Initial reclamation work for the project is scheduled to start on the same day. Meanwhile, court cases brought by those opposed to the runway are set to be heard in July.

The fee for short-haul departing passengers flying in economy class will be HK$90, while the fee for short-haul passengers in first or business class is HK$160. For long-haul passengers, the fee for economy, and first or business class tickets will be HK$160 and HK$180 respectively.

third runway

The third runway system. Photo: Airport Authority

Transit passengers will pay according to the same scheme, but the fee for short-haul transit passengers in economy class will be set at HK$70.

The Airport Authority said it expected around 70 percent of passengers departing from the Hong Kong international airport to pay an airport construction fee of HK$90 or less.

It added that the fee will remain in effect until all costs related to the third runway system project have been fully repaid, which could take until 2031. The rate will remain unchanged throughout the collection period.

Legal challenges 

The third runway system has been beset with legal challenges.

People’s Aviation Watch, an organisation opposing expensive infrastructure projects at the airport, said a judicial review to challenge the environmental impact assessment report for the runway will be heard in court this July.

“But the Airport Authority decided to charge the fees before any verdict is made – it disregards the law,” it said in a Facebook post.

A total of five judicial review cases or appeals are being planned, according to Roy Tam Hoi-pong, an environmental protection activist and district councilor.



Court denies judicial review bid over third runway

15.3.2016  (rthk)

The High Court on Tuesday refused to grant leave for a judicial review challenging the Airport Authority’s power to charge passengers a levy to build the planned third runway.

The applications were submitted by environmental activist Hui Sin-hang, League of Social Democrats vice chairman Raphael Wong and activist Koo Sze-yiu.

The applicants argued that the authority does not have legal rights to charge departing passengers up to HK$180 a trip, in order to fund the HK$141 billion project. They said the levy is basically a form of tax that should instead be approved by the Legislative Council.

But High Court judge Anderson Chow said the authority has all the powers to determine the amount of fees and the legislature has empowered it to do so. He said the authority can also do anything required to develop the Hong Kong International Airport, including building an extra runway.

Justice Chow also dismissed the applicants’ concern that the sharing of airspace with nearby airports would violate the Basic Law. He said delegating a small portion of the Special Administrative Region’s airspace to the mainland does not mean Hong Kong is completely giving up its control over its airspace.

The court had earlier granted leave to other legal challenges to the controversial multi-billion dollar runway project. A challenge seeking to overturn an environmental permit for the project will be heard in July.


Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which largely comprises land reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself. The airport is also colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport (赤鱲角機場), to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.

Wikipedia says of the 3rd runway:

The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) Master Plan 2030 is a proposal by the Airport Authority Hong Kong in 2010. It aims to increase the runway capacity of HKIA by building a third runway as they estimated the existing runways will reach its capacity sometime between 2019 and 2022.[1] It has aroused great concerns in the society when the HKIA first published their plan. HKIA had now finished the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for constructing the third runway.

According to the Airport Authority’s “Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030”, there were 50 million passengers in 2010 which is near the capacity of HKIA. Moreover, considering the rapid growth of China, the demand of transfer will rise continuously. In the middle term, the amount of passengers and cargo traffic of the airport will exceed the capacity in 2020. In the long term, there are 2.1 billion passengers in Pearl River Delta region where only five airports, including HKIA. HKIA is also facing the challenge of neighbor airport, like Shenzhen Baoan Airport which is planning to build the third runway. Therefore, owing to the economic profits and the competitiveness, the HKSAR plans to build the third runway. HKIA estimates that the first round project will finish in 2023.[2][3]

The project sparks a wide discussion among citizens. They have a controversy about whether its economic performance surpasses its sacrifice.

A Three-Phase Process

First stage (2012-2014*): Planning

The first stage is planning which includes Environmental Impact Assessment studies, associated design details and funding options.

Second stage (2014-2015*): Approval

The second stage is approval which includes statutory process and approval from the government, environmental permit, foreshore and seabed construction gazette and financial arrangement.[4]

Third stage (2015-2023*): Implementation

The third stage is implementation which includes detailed designs, reclamation and land formation and construction of related facilities. Finally will be the completion and operation of the third runway system.[5]

  • Indicative timeline that is subject to change


Environmental problems

Water hydrology

Hong Kong is situated at the mouth of the Pearl River. After the construction, the third runway will become a physical barrier, blocking the water flow from Zhu Jiang. The flow rate of seawater in the Lung Kwu Chau will thus drop.[10] Without sufficient water energy, the load will be deposited as sediment and pollutants cannot be carried away by flow, lowering the quality of water in the inner bay.


Chinese White Dolphin (CWDs)

Firstly, the proposed reclamation of 650 hectares for the third runway will severely reduce the size of their marine habitat and limit their sphere of activities. The reclaimed area is at the heart of three CWDs hotspots: Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau, Southwest Lantau and the Brothers Islands. Therefore, their habitat will be destroyed.[11][12] Second, their lives will be disrupted during the construction. During the peak reclamation construction period, the maximum number of construction-related vessel movements will be 120 per day. The opportunity of dolphins being collided by vessels is high when both of them pass through the Lung Kwu Chau. As dolphins rely on echolocation to navigate and fish, the noise generated by the vessel movements and underwater construction interfere with their echolocation.[12]


Six fish species of conservation importance were recorded in waters within the third runway project, including: Longheaded eagle ray, Pale edged sting ray and Goatee croaker Long tooth grouper, etc.[13] The quality of their habitat will be deteriorated by reclamation and accumulation of sediment or pollutants, preventing them from survival.


Sha Chau Egretry has the largest number of Little Egret nests(56 nests) among 16 colonies in Hong Kong.[14] The construction activities, especially horizontal directional drilling, will destroy Sha Chau Egrety, thus destroying Little Egrets’ habitat.

Air pollution

A new runway will add at least 18.1 million tonnes of carbon emission per annum in Hong Kong in 2030. This is a 76% surge compared with 2008. If Hong Kong does not build the third runway, aviation emission would be 12.8 million tonnes per annum in 2030. [13]

Noise pollution

Ma Wan, Tsing Yi and Tuen Mun are likely to suffer more noise pollution once the third runway is operated. An average of 780 airplanes flew over Park Island each month, creating noise above 60 decibels in 2012 to 2013. [15] Airplane noise has reached unbearable levels for residents of Park Island in the northern part of Ma Wan since the airport was relocated to Lantau.

Environmental Impact Assessment Report

It contains the results of an assessment of the environmental impacts of the expansion project and the future operation of the Three-Runway System in 12 aspects, such as air quality, aircraft noise and human health, etc. It has pointed out that the expansion project will cause no more than a moderate degree of impact on the habitat of the CWDs, the Sha Chau egretry and the surrounding fisheries areas. [16]

Alleviating measures (by HKSAR)

The EIA report recommends the adoption of more than 250 mitigation measures.Non-dredge land formation method will be adopted for ground improvement, diversion of aviation fuel pipelines by horizontal directional drilling in the deep sub-sea bedrock stratum, and diversion of submarine electricity cables by water jetting. Moreover, a new marine park will be established after the construction of the third runway. [16]


………… and there is much more ……….