Hong Kong Airport inaugurates third runway as travel restrictions are eased

The new facility is part of an $18.2 billion expansion

Hong Kong International Airport's third runway was officially inaugurated with the arrival of a Cathay Pacific flight from Perth, Australia. Photo: Hong Kong International Airport
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Hong Kong International Airport’s third runway was officially inaugurated on Friday, boosting plans to turn the territory into a global aviation hub.

A Cathay Pacific flight from Perth, Australia, was the first flight to use the runway after its official opening ceremony. However, the facility has already technically been in operation since July, catering to about 140 flights a day.

Construction of the new 3,800 metre-long runway commenced in August 2016 and involved the reclamation of 650 hectares of land, which took four years to complete.

It forms part of a wider expansion of the airport’s Terminal 2, with a new concourse, baggage handling system and automated people mover system scheduled for completion in 2024, on time and within budget. The project will cost $18.2 billion.

“The three runway system will significantly increase the passenger and cargo handling capacity of HKIA,” said Chan Kwok-ki, chief secretary for administration, HKIA.

“With the distinct advantages of the strong support from the motherland and our connectivity to the world, Hong Kong will maintain and enhance its status as an international aviation hub.”

Passenger levels at the airport are expected to reach between 60 and 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year and return to normal by 2024.

“The project was funded from the private market and it doesn’t involve any government money," said Jack So, chairman of the airport authority. “This proves that the international financial community, banking sector and funds are confident of Hong Kong and its airport.”

Hong Kong began easing travel restrictions last month, allowing inbound and outbound to enter the territory without mandatory quarantine. However, visitors must still present proof of vaccination and are required to conduct a Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours prior to their departure.

All inbound passengers must also complete an online health declaration form prior to their arrival. Once in Hong Kong, visitors will be placed under medical surveillance for three days, and must undergo daily rapid tests and keep photos of their results. On day two of their stay, they must undergo a PCR test and keep the SMS notification of their negative result.

Updated: November 26, 2022, 1:15 PM