Why it’s still a bridge over troubled waters for HKIA

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Hong Kong, the world’s busiest air cargo airport, is bracing to be even busier when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) opens, a spokesperson for the Airport Authority of Hong Kong confirmed to Air Cargo Week.

The authority, like so many others in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, is waiting for the announcement as to when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) will start operating. The latest gossip in Hong Kong has the bridge opening before July 1 – although there is nothing official yet. This would be a significant date to keep as this year it is the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) on the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to mainland China in 1997.

The bridge is a major piece of infrastructure, connecting China’s two Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macao, with Zhuhai in China by a 34 mile/55 kilometre road bridge across the mouth of the Pearl River.

Key take-away is the bridge will significantly shorten the travelling time between Zhuhai and HKIA from four hours to about 45 minutes once it is commissioned.

“With the commissioning of HZMB, HKIA can further strengthen its role as a gateway of the Mainland China by expanding HKIA’s cargo catchment area into the west Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, given the enhanced integrated and multi-modal transport network,” the spokesperson says.

“It is anticipated that more cargo originated from west PRD region would utilize the excellent connectivity and efficient cargo services of HKIA,” the spokesperson adds. They do not elaborate with a ballpark figure for how much extra cargo this would mean.
Longer term, Hong Kong International Airport is preparing to become a Three-runway system (3RS) facility in 2024. Once it has the third runway it is expected HKIA will handle 9 million tonnes of cargo in 2030, the spokesperson said.

Before that it is striving to enhance its existing Two-runway facilities. “Currently, we are proceeding with the remaining phase of the Midfield Apron Development which will increase our parking stands from current 182 to 216 by 2020, providing additional capacity in the interim period before the completion of the 3RS,” the spokesperson adds.