Hong Kong International Airport: $18 Billion Expansion

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Hong Kong International Airport
Plans for Airport Expansion

Hong Kong International Airport—Huge Expansions in Progress

By  Megan Mentuck

Airport community. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Airport community. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

With access to over 200 different international destinations and roughly 71,500,00 passengers annually, Hong Kong International Airport is an aviation giant…and they’re about to get even bigger.

By 2024, Hong Kong International Airport hopes to adopt a Three-runway system that will allow for more air travel to and from the already massive airport.

The Three-runway system involves lots of new construction in order to achieve everything it hopes to.

Not only will there be a third runway added to the airport, but also HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport) hopes to add ways to optimize the airport experience for busy travelers.

This includes revamping their luggage system and introducing an Automated People Mover or APM to help transport people throughout the different airport concourses.

Not Enough Land? Build More!

Terminal 1 exterior. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Terminal 1 exterior. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

The Hong Kong International Airport is already partially built on reclaimed land.

This means that because there wasn’t enough space in the busy metropolitan hub of Hong Kong, they expanded into the water that surrounds the city by first artificially creating more land.

The process of land reclamation is common in densely populated coastal areas like Hong Kong, China.

Plane flying over sunset. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Plane flying over sunset. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

Land reclamation can be achieved using a process known as deep cement mixing.

Basically, this process works by having a foundational material, like cement, injected into the ground of where the land will be built.

Then, on top of the sturdy foundation, sand or soil is filled into the desired height of the landmass.

Similar to the original construction of the Hong Kong International Airport, the Three-runway system requires land reclamation in the surrounding area to expand, as well.

The process is complicated and difficult; however, absolutely necessary in the construction of the Three-runway system.

The Three-runway System: Explained

The Three-runway system project is a massive expansion project for Hong Kong International Airport.

It will introduce a third runway to the airport that is critical for meeting long-term air travel demand.

Although the HK$141.5 billion—or in USD, $18 billion—price tag on the project may seem high, it’s important to note that the airport plays an important role in Hong Kong’s economy.

According to the official Hong Kong International Airport website, the airport supports all four pillars of the city’s economy: financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and producer and professional

Airport community. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Airport community. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

services.

Expansion of the airport via the Three-runway system is in fact an investment into the future of the airport and the city of Hong Kong—and one that they hope will pay off!

The Three-runway system will improve the airport’s efficiency by enabling each runway to have a specific function.

One runway will be designated for landings, one will be for takeoffs, and one will accommodate both.

This system will optimize air travel to and from the Hong Kong International Airport.

Not Just Another Runway…

The Three-runway system is such a huge project, it’s essentially equivalent to building a whole other airport.

According to the Hong Kong International Airport website, beyond the creation of another runway, the project has seven core aspects to it.

These are: the creation of the third runway and additional taxiway systems; reclamation of 650 hectares of land; the creation of the T2 concourse; expansion of Terminal 2; introduction of an Automated People

Hong Kong International Airport at Night. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Hong Kong International Airport at Night. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

Mover; introduction of a Baggage Handling System; and the building of other associated airport infrastructure as needed.

The Automated People Mover

The Automated People Mover or APM will be added to connect Terminal 2 to the airport’s new passenger building. It will move at a speed up to 80 km/h or almost 50 mph!

The goal of the APM is to allow for easier transportation between different areas of the airport.

New Baggage Handling System

The new Baggage Handling System is also an important part of the airport’s expansion and updates.

It is designed to link Terminal 2 of the airport with what will be the new passenger building and be capable of handling 9,600 bags per hour!

This New Baggage Handling System will make baggage transportation throughout the airport more effective and efficient.

Commitment to Sustainability

The Three-runway system has pledged to commit to sustainability. One way that they have demonstrated this commitment is with their latest introduction of eco-enhanced seawalls.

Terminal 1 Interior. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Terminal 1 Interior. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

The Marine Ecology and Fisheries Enhancement strategy was created to promote the betterment of marine environment in the area and as one of their projects, introduced the idea of creating eco-enhanced seawalls to the airport.

See, in order to complete the airport’s expansion, they need to construct artificial seawalls to separate the airport on land from the sea.

To make this project more eco-friendly, rather than using regular concrete blocks, the Hong Kong International Airport proposed using eco-enhanced blocks.

The “eco-blocks” look similar to normal concrete blocks one would expect to see; however, there are design features carved into the blocks meant to provide small-scale pools and grooves for aquatic life in the area!

This design feature is simple—yet environmentally friendly.

This is just one of the ways that Hong Kong International Airport is committing to a sustainable future in its creation of the Three-runway system.

Construction Timeline

Airfield. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.
Airfield. Hong Kong International Airport Photos.

Construction of the Three-runway system began in August 2016 and has been steadily underway since then.

According to the Hong Kong International Airport website, the project has been progressing on schedule and should be fully completed and operational by 2024—right on time!

The Three-runway system is very large and has many different components to it, so once it’s completed, it should provide a whole new experience for travelers at the Hong Kong International Airport.

One of the reasons why Hong Kong International Airport is so busy is because of its convenient location for international travel.

Being only a five and a half hour plane ride from most international stops, this airport is often a place frequent travelers find themselves at.

So, if you are a frequent traveler and find yourself at the HKIA in the upcoming years, make sure to check out the new renovations!

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