The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau are served by international airports which are both due for expansion in the coming years. With rapid growth in air traffic passengers expected within the region the new expansion projects are needed to ensure the airports can cope with expected increase in international flights and passenger numbers. These large scale construction projects will create thousands of new jobs for construction professionals and will help further strengthen the construction market outlook in Hong Kong.
MACAU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Macau International Airport is situated at the eastern end of Taipa Island and opened for commercial operations in November 1995. The airport is a common transfer point for people traveling between China and Taiwan. There has been a steady increase in passenger numbers since opening and in 2014 the airport handled approximately 5.5 million travellers. Plans to further develop the airport are vital to ensure it keeps pace with the increased passenger traffic numbers.
Extension of the Passenger Terminal Building on the north side of the airport is the core element of the new overhaul of Macau Airport. Further work also includes the creation of a new business jet hangar and the upgrading of the apron. Once the construction work is completed it is expected the airport will be able to handle an extra 1.5million in passengers, bring the total capacity up to 7.5million.
Future expansion of the airport could involve the development of the south passenger terminal and even new land reclamation projects to increase runway capacity. It is also worth noting the ongoing construction already underway as part of the business jet hangar development which is due to open in 2016. With a steady flow of construction work associated with Macau airport due to take place over the next 3-4 years the outlook is good for construction professionals wanting to work in Macau.
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok. This island, which is mostly reclaimed land began construction in 1991, has been commercially operational since 1998. Since its construction Hong Kong International Airport has played a key role in the economic growth of Hong Kong providing thousands of new job opportunities for both local and overseas workers. The airport has seen continued growth since it opened, and handled over 60million passenger movements in 2014, putting it in the top 10 busiest airports worldwide by passenger traffic. It is also the busiest cargo airport in the world with over 3 million tonnes of cargo handled in 2014. The airport also features one of the world’s largest terminal buildings which operate 24 hours 7 days a week.
Continued growth in passenger numbers and air traffic necessitates the need for future development to enhance its capacity to meet this growing demand. Future expansion involves the construction of a 3rd runway to convert the airport into a three-runway system. On 17th March 2015, the Executive Council approved the expansion of HKIA into a three-runway system, and the aim now to begin construction works as soon as possible. Enhancing the airport with a third runway will allow Hong Kong to handle the estimated future traffic demands of 102 million passengers and 8.9 million tonnes of cargo per year.
The scale of the construction will be huge and will require 650 hectares of land to be reclaimed with a seawall boundary of approximately 13.5km. Construction will involve 57 new aircraft parking positions and a new third runway concourse, along with modification and expansion of the existing terminal 2 to process passengers. Further works will include a new state of art automated people mover, high speed baggage handling system and associated infrastructure of facilities and utilities. Overall construction is expected to take around 8 years with a target completion date of 2023.
As with any major construction project under the third runway will create thousands of new jobs directly through construction and operational staff, and indirectly through increased tourism and travellers arriving in Hong Kong. With planning and environmental impact assessments already underway there will soon be an increase in demand for construction professional with the necessary skills and experience to move this project forward. Engineers, Construction Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Commercial Managers will all be needed once the project has moved into the construction phase.
With both Hong Kong and Macau Airports due to undergo large scale expansion during the next few years the flow of large scale construction projects in Hong Kong looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. With new projects due to commence in 2015/2016 the construction market outlook remains positive with a steady demand for construction professionals.
Hong Kong and Asia Region