Airport Authority Welcomes Granting of Environmental Permit for Three-Runway System

Press Release - 07/11/2014

(HONG KONG, 7 November 2014) – Airport Authority Hong Kong (the AA) today said it welcomes the decision of the Director of Environmental Protection to approve the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and issue an Environmental Permit (EP) for the proposed expansion of Hong Kong International Airport into a three-runway system (3RS).

Fred Lam, Chief Executive Officer of the AA, said, “We are delighted to obtain the EP. It marks a major step in Hong Kong’s pursuit of strengthening its long-term competitiveness and leading aviation hub status.

“The AA is committed to carrying out all the mitigation measures proposed in the 3RS EIA report, and fully complying with all the conditions listed by the Environmental Protection Department in a highly prudent, transparent and professional manner,” added Mr Lam. “Our aim is to achieve a balance between economic development and conservation.

“Now that the EP has been granted, the AA will kick-start the marine park proposal by developing a management plan for a 2,400-hectare marine park, as committed to in the EIA report. This represents the largest of its kind in Hong Kong. We will also formulate and finance a detailed Marine Ecology Conservation Plan with support from relevant experts and stakeholder groups. This plan will outline our approach for the conservation of marine life, particularly the Chinese White Dolphins (CWDs) within Hong Kong and Pearl River Estuary waters.

“To further enhance early protection for CWDs, the AA will also devise a Marine Traffic Routes and Management Plan for high-speed ferries operating out of the SkyPier, to minimise the chance of disturbance in western waters. Some of these precautionary measures will be implemented even before we begin construction on the 3RS,” Mr Lam explained.

Mr Lam stressed that the airport is currently operating very close to its maximum capacity. He said expanding the airport into a three-runway system will allow Hong Kong to meet its long-term air traffic demand, while generating local employment and facilitating economic development.

The AA is currently reviewing the cost estimate and associated funding arrangement, now that the scheme design for the 3RS project has been substantially completed.. For the next stage, the AA will submit to the Government its recommendation for how to take the project forward, and proceed to completing other necessary statutory procedures once it obtains approval. “We target to obtain all the necessary approvals to expand the airport, with the aim of having the 3RS fully operational in 2023,” said Mr Lam.

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