The Airport Authority of Hong Kong on Thursday released a 20-year plan that will double the annual passengers handling capacity of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) from current 40 million to 80 million in 2025.
The feasibility study of constructing the third runway to maximize the existing capacity is also under way.
According to the blueprint, or HKIA 2025, HKIA will continue to contribute to the social and economic development of Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta and the Chinese mainland as a whole.
"With China's growing global economic influence and Hong Kong's increasing integration with China's mainland, HKIA 2025 positions Hong Kong International Airport as one of the most important gateway hubs of China," said Airport Authority Chairman Victor Fung.
"HKIA will continue to contribute to the sustainable growth of Hong Kong and its integration with the Mainland," he said.
As a gateway hub, the blueprint said, HKIA will participate in the thriving Chinese mainland aviation market, which the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) predicts will approach 1.4 billion passenger trips and 30 million tonnes of cargo by 2020.
HKIA is expected to serve about 80 million passengers and handle 8 million tonnes of cargo and 490,000 aircraft movements per year by 2025.
Currently, there are 85 airlines operating at HKIA, connecting Hong Kong with 150 cities worldwide including around 40 mainland destinations.
The blueprint supports a co-ordinated airport development system in Pearl River Delta, a goal that the Airport Authority hopes will optimize the supply of valuable resources, including runway capacity and airspace.
The CAAC estimates that by 2020, the five primary civilian airports in the delta areas, namely Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, will likely see a total of 5,000 aircraft movements each day, more than double the current level.
Regarding enhancing the runway capacity, Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer David J. Pang added, "Airport Authority will continue to work closely with Civil Aviation Department to maximize the existing capacity and will undergo the feasibility study of constructing the third runway.
Pang said the decision will give due consideration to stakeholders' opinions and Hong Kong's long-term competitiveness, with a view to maintaining HKIA's role as a leading aviation hub.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)