Spotlight on Airports: Hong Kong International Airport

Posted by Richard Poulter on Tuesday, July 16, 2019

One of Hong Kong’s largest infrastructure projects is making swift and steady progress. When we last mentioned Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKIA) third runway system (3RS) project, the contracts were due for award imminently. Now, almost 18 months later, we take a look at how this major aviation project is progressing, and what opportunities it presents.

Gearing Up for Growth

The driving force behind this airport expansion project is to be able to serve 30 million additional passengers annually. But as anyone who has been to Hong Kong knows, space for constructing new buildings and infrastructure isn’t just lying around waiting to be developed. To get around this challenge, the Hong Kong International Airport is reclaiming around 650 hectares of land to the north of the airport to build their new runway – that’s nearly half again the size of the existing airport. The reclamation works are currently underway and are due to be completed in 2020, so geotechnical engineers, quantity surveyors, and environmental engineers will all be busy for the next year or so. 

Once the reclamation works are complete, a huge programme of construction work is planned. Once the 3.8km third runway is operational, it will be temporarily opened while the existing north runway is reconfigured. Once these works are complete, the north runway will be opened to aviation traffic by 2022, and work will continue on the new (third) runway. Combined with associated airport infrastructure works and transport networks, there will be plenty to keep highways engineers and aviation engineers busy for the foreseeable future. Before the third runway opens in 2024, there will be a massive new passenger building constructed (280,000m²) and an expansion of the existing Terminal 2, so expect to see demand rise for quantity surveyors, project managers, commercial managers and construction site managers as those works get underway. 

hong kong airport

1 - Source: Hong Kong International Airport

Aviation Jobs Growth

As well as the traditional construction works, there are many specialist aviation projects to be completed that keep the airport running as expected. Baggage handling systems engineers will soon be working out the details of how to create a system that transports baggage at speeds of 7–10m/second for the new Baggage Handling System. And the challenge for aviation and transportation engineers will be how to create an Automated People Mover system between the Terminal 2 and the new passenger building that can carry nearly 11,000 people per hour. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? Not for skilled aviation experts.

An Exciting Time for Aviation Sector Jobs

Many of the world’s major airports are gearing up for future growth, providing excellent opportunities for aviation jobs. London Heathrow International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Dubai International Airport – to name a few – are all undergoing expansion to cope with increased passenger numbers. But while all are large, ambitious projects, few are quite as interesting as making a whole new land mass to build a new runway on. If you want to be a part of one of Hong Kong’s landmark infrastructure projects, please get in touch for an informal discussion about your skills and experience. Alternatively, sign up for our job alerts to be the first to know about any aviation vacancies. 

About the Author

Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
I am responsible for the recruitment business in Hong Kong, Asia, and the Middle East. I was a civil engineer and project manager for 15 years before becoming a construction industry recruitment consultant in 2004. I am based in the Hong Kong office and specialise in placing professionals in engineering, project management, planning, HSEQ and risk.
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