August 3, 2023
HONG KONG – The future is bright for Hong Kong’s status as an aviation hub with the airport’s throughput expected to increase by 50 percent next year to serve 120 million passengers, officials said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Aviation Day 2023 celebration, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the city’s bright prospect is manifested not just in the sunny economic outlook of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, but also in the flurry of its far-sighted infrastructural developments.
“(These) will enhance our capacity to better serve the Greater Bay Area and the myriad countries and territories that our aviation tentacles reach,” Chan said.
The finance chief said the administration has injected HK$200 million ($25.6 million) into the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund to support manpower training of the logistics industry.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong International Airport served 220 destinations with annual passenger throughput of over 71 million, and cargo throughput of 4.2 million tons in 2022, according to Chan.
“Even during the pandemic, our airport was still served by about 120 airlines, and remained undoubtedly the busiest cargo airport in the world,” he said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong International Airport served 220 destinations with annual passenger throughput of over 71 million, and cargo throughput of 4.2 million tons in 2022, according to Chan
Chan said the government and Airport Authority Hong Kong are transforming the airport into an Airport City that will blend cross-boundary commercial, entertainment, tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) business and will become a new engine to propel the growth of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.
“We are also exploring with the Zhuhai authorities the feasibility of building an industrial park there, so as to promote the development of the comprehensive aviation industry through synergized cross-boundary co-operation,” Chan said.
He also said that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is also looking to develop auxiliary industries related to the aviation sector.
“We are striving to establish Hong Kong as an aircraft leasing and services hub by providing tax deductions so as to attract more aircraft leasing companies to come to Hong Kong. The relevant legislative amendments will be introduced within this year.” Chan said.
Jack So Chak-kwong, Airport Authority Hong Kong chairman, said Hong Kong airport’s throughput can increase by 50 percent to serve 120 million passengers when all supporting facilities for its third runway are completed by the end of next year.
“Passenger traffic has recovered to about 60 percent of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is expected that it can fully recover by the end of next year,” he said.
So added that the airport’s third runway has been operating since November last year. He thanked the partners of the airport authority for keeping the airport open and operating during the pandemic, and the support from the central government and the HKSAR government.
Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said that the current international passenger traffic in the country has recovered to about 50 percent of levels recorded in 2019, and the weekly international passenger flight volume has grown from the previous 5 percent to 50 percent.
He also said that during this year’s summer travel season, the mainland’s average daily flight volume and domestic passenger traffic volume exceeded the level during the pandemic. Among them, the passenger traffic volume reached 2.11 million on July 14, setting a single-day record in civil aviation passenger volume for the mainland.