It seems pretty likely that the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will get the go-ahead. That's good news for the construction industry in Hong Kong as it will offer many opportunities.
In November last year, there were reports that the existing two runways will reach capacity this year. As a precautionary measure, the authorities were looking at pushing aircraft movements up from 68 to 70 per hour during the daytime and increasing night time take-offs and landings beyond the current 37 per hour.
Currently a study is underway to see if the newer, quieter engine planes won't increase noise pollution to any great extent before the go-ahead for this is given.
This further highlights the need for the extra runway at the airport voted 'Airport of the Year' at the Air Transport World Magazine's awards earlier this year.
A Lot of Talking
This expansion has been ten years in the planning and discussion stages. While it seems many cannot wait for this to happen as a means of securing Hong Kong's status as global hub, the talking still goes on.
It seems airport expansions, wherever they are in the world, cause a lot of noise. The chatter revolves mainly around rising costs and environmental impacts and it's no different in Hong Kong.
A recent spanner in the works suggested that flight paths from mainland China and Macau would be crossed by flights scheduled out of Hong Kong's third runway, known as the 3RS. But the three Airport Authorities involved have all confirmed their support of the project despite this. Obviously flight paths can be managed.
Any expansion of infrastructure unnerves those concerned with emissions and noise pollution. This was also noted in our recent blog for the London airports' expansion plans. But there are ways to address these issues with larger aircraft and other measures.
Some of these are already in operation at HKIA, for instance:
- Aircraft at frontal stands cannot use auxiliary power units - already in force
- All idling engines are illegal on the tarmacs
- All vehicles used will be electric by 2018
- With an increase of electric charging stations
- The new runway will be on standby at night wherever possible to alleviate noise
- Flight paths will be adjusted to avoid populated areas at night
- Protections will be put in place for the surrounding marine life including Chinese White Dolphins
A Big Development
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest in the world and already employs 73,000 people. A third runway will obviously increase those figures and will also see 102 million passengers and 8.9 tonnes of cargo go through annually. The predictions are also for 607,000 flights in and out of the airport all by 2030.
But the authorities are keen to remind everyone that the 3RS is more than just a runway. For the runway to be built, 650 hectares of land north of the current airport site must be reclaimed. This will be retained by a 13.4km seawall.
A new passenger concourse is also part of the plan, covering 280,000 square metres and allowing for 57 new parking positions.
The runway itself, will be 3.800 metres long with supporting taxiways. This will mean the existing north runway will be reconfigured.
The plan also includes a fast 2,600 metres Automated People Mover system connecting to Terminal 2. It will travel at speeds of 80km/h so that movement between the two will take 2.5 minutes. No missed connections here unless the 10,800 other passengers per hour get in the way!
Other developments include expansion of Terminal 2 for full servicing and supporting road systems.
An Abundance of Opportunities
With reclamation of the land commencing any day, you can see there will be plenty of openings in the upcoming years on this project.
Skill sets in quantity surveying, civil engineering, planning engineers, MEP estimators, cost managers and currently even an aviation engineer. Make sure you have registered with us and if not send us your CV. Be sure to keep an eye on the vacancies for this prestigious project.
Director - Hong Kong & UK Construction Recruitment Specialist