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Hong Kong Airport- The Third Runway Expansion


Hong Kong Airport is already one of the largest transport hubs in the world and is due to get even bigger with the expansion of a 3rd runway!

Hong Kong’s government recently gave conditional approval for a third runway at the existing airport. The development at Chek Lap Kok will involve reclaiming a massive 1,600 acres of land from the sea with work due to start in September 2014. Estimates predict Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will be receiving 102.3 million passengers and 8.9 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2030 while handling 607,000 flight movements - building a 3rd runway is key to ensuring this traffic can be accommodated. 

Initial estimates predict the project will cost circa $11 billion, including $5 billion for the land reclamation, however these are initial estimates and the final cost may well surpass these estimates. The challenges faced by contractors, engineers and architects to construction such an enormous development are numerous. Top of the list of priorities is ensuring they have enough construction professionals to complete the project on time and budget, particularly in the context of a construction boom in Hong Kong already well underway.

Such a large undertaking will no doubt bring 1000’s of new job opportunities to the Hong Kong job market. As with the original Chek Lap Kok airport project, the new 3rd runway project will create jobs for both local Hong Kong people and expatriates. From the initial ground works and land reclamation to the main build to the high spec fit out and final account stages and any construction claims – staff will be required at all levels of experience and expertise. Let’s review the project and the different stages of construction we can expect.

STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION

SITE INVESTIGATION
Building the third runway moved a step closer with start of a major ground investigation project around the near shores of the airport. Airport Authority Hong Kong has appointed a renowned specialist geotechnical consultant to undertake the geotechnical and environmental ground investigation programme. This will no doubt lead to the recruitment of specialist Geotechnical Engineers and Geologists to move this section of works forward. The work is scheduled to be completed in November this year and will be carried out using up to five specially-equipped vessels. 

LAND RECLAMATION
Land reclamation to form the required land space to build the 3rd runway forms a major part of this construction project. Land formation of about 650 hectares to the north of the existing airport island, about 40% of which falls on an area of contaminated mud pits will be required. Hong Kong has a long history of land reclamation and there are a number of local contracting companies who specialise in this sort of construction work. With $5 billion allocated for land reclamation alone the requirement for experienced Land Surveyors and Environmental Officers will be great and job opportunities high.

RUNWAY
A major part of the overall the construction project the runway itself will form the platform off which HKIA expects to receive 102.3 million passengers and 8.9 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2030. No doubt this is huge undertaking and will require an experienced Main Contractor to carry out the works. 

TERMINAL BUILDINGS/PASSENGER MOVEMENT SYSTEMS:
Along with the new runway itself a whole new development of Terminal Buildings and Passenger Movement Systems will be required to link the new runway with the existing airport. A brand terminal building is required to accommodate the extra capacity and passenger numbers the 3rd runway will create. Building a new airport terminal building requires a certain level of design and construction expertise. Often incorporating large open spaces that span long distances an airport terminal requires an experienced design and construction team to pull it off. Experienced Engineering Consultants, Architects and construction contractors will no doubt be queuing up to be involved on such a landmark development in Hong Kong.

Another major part of the project will include Mechanical and Electrical (M&E or MEP) elements. This will include various systems to move passengers and luggage as well as the numerous duty free and shop fit out works that will be needed.  This will create numerous job opportunities for M&E/MEP specialists, ranging from M&E Quantity Surveying and Commercial Managers to M&E Engineers and Project Managers.

WORKING ON HONG KONG AIRPORT’S 3RD RUNWAY EXPANSION
The entire project is estimated to take about 11 years from now before the three-runway system is commissioned in 2023. Commercial, Engineering, Planning, HSE, Design and M&E staff at all levels are going to be required from now on for this mega civil engineering and building project.

if you have the specialist skills and experience required to participate in any part of this exciting long term construction project, please get in contact with your CV and one of our experienced consultants will be happy to discuss with you the opportunities as they come available.

Tim Cole
Maxim Recruitment
Hong Kong & Asia Region

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