Should Hong Kong International Airport Build Its Third Runway?

Published: 2021-09-15 06:55:10
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Category: Social Issues

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Should Hong Kong International Airport build its third runway?        Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is one of the busiest airports in the world. There is one flight using the runway in a minute. However, the maximum aircraft capacity of the two runways is 68 flights per hour. (Airport Authority Hong Kong, 2012) The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) estimates that the problem of air traffic congestion will occur in 2020 because the usage of the runways is stepping up rapidly. (BBC news, 2012) In 2011, AAHK proposed ‘Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030’. (Airport Authority Hong Kong, 2012) The main focus of the plan is to build the third runway in Chek Lap Kok. It has stimulated many discussions from different people. In this essay, I will look at both sides of this argument and finally make a conclusion.         There are several reasons why HKIA needs a third runway. First, from an economic point of view, the aviation industry is very important to Hong Kong. Since trading with other cities and countries is one of the most important means to boost the Hong Kong economy, an advanced and efficient airport is needed to meet the increasing demand of the cargoes and visitors. A three-runway system can shorten the delivery time of the cargo and help developing closer economic ties between Hong Kong and the world. If the problem of air traffic congestion is not fixed, it will become a heavy burden to the aircraft capacity, which brings economic impact to the Four Pillar Industries in Hong Kong. In long term, this is harmful to the Hong Kong’s economy.        Second, some cities and countries near Hong Kong, including Shenzhen, Bangkok and Seoul, have already proposed to build more runways so as to become more competitive and meet the demand of the aviation industry after twenty years. (Wikipedia, 2014) If Hong Kong does not follow, the dominant position of HKIA will be affected seriously. For instance, the case of London Heathrow Airport is similar with the recent situation of HKIA. (South China Morning Post, 2014) Since London Heathrow Airport does not construct a new runway, its development is pursuing by other Europe airports gradually because of its limited capacity. If HKIA does not build the third runway, the number of visitors and cargoes will be suffered from a huge loss. This hinders the economic growth of Hong Kong.        The third argument is that the rapid development of mainland China threatens the survival of Hong Kong. Under the trend of globalization, the economy of Asia Pacific area grows rapidly, especially the mainland China. If Hong Kong wants to retain its position as the world’s premier cargo-handling airport, it is emergent and necessary to develop the three-runway system. Moreover, the problem of air traffic congestion will let the logistics industry switching to mainland China. Therefore, HKIA needs expansion to retake the advantage of effective services. And the government should show its determination by approving the suggestion of the third runway system.        However, some environmentalists oppose the plan of the third-runway system. Their argument is that the construction will bring environmental impacts to the vicinity of HKIA. More flights will worsen the problem of air pollution, which affects the health of the Tung Chung’s citizen. (WWF Hong Kong, 2014)  I do believe the advanced green technology can help with the environmental problem. For example, the new airplane has enhanced the energy efficiency. It reduces the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. (Thomas, K. Grose, 2013) In addition, the design of the associated facilities can have more green innovations, including the cooling system, lighting system and water system. So HKIA can build up a good image and become a more eco-friendly and attractive airport in the world, which gains the international appreciation.

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