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Old March 8th, 2014, 01:48 PM   #221
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Lai Sun eyes hotels amid rise in visitors
5 March 2014
South China Morning Post

Years after it demolished two five-star hotels it owned in Central to make way for office projects, midsize developer Lai Sun Development is looking to re-enter the hospitality industry in Hong Kong.

The firm will enter the bidding to build a hotel on Lantau Island. The Airport Authority of Hong Kong invited expressions of interest from developers to build a 1,200-room hotel of at least a three-star grade on part of the SkyCity car park near the AsiaWorld-Expo.

The tendering to build the hotel closes on March 31.


“We see demand for hotel rooms far outstripping supply, as the city has only about 60,000 rooms,” Lai Sun deputy chairman Chew Fook Aun said.

The government recently predicted 70 million tourists would visit the city per year by 2017.

In October, Lai Sun, chaired by Peter Lam Kin-ngok, who is also chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said it would invest HK$4.1 billion to build a 495-room resort hotel in Ocean Park. It beat six firms to win the tender.

The Ocean Park hotel, with a total gross floor area of 366,000 square feet, will be managed by Marriott International and is slated to open by early 2017.

It will be Lai Sun’s first hotel in Hong Kong since it demolished the 28-year-old, 517-room Furama Hotel in 2001. The grade A offices of AIA Central now occupy that site.

In 2008, Lai Sun tore down the 216-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, adjacent to the Furama, to make way for the development of the CCB Tower. The firm has a 10 per cent stake in AIA Central and a 50 per cent share of CCB Tower.

Lai Sun owns 95 per cent of the Starr Hotel in Shanghai and a 26 per cent stake in the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Chew said Lai Sun was expanding its holdings to increase its rental income.

With the opening of its commercial-retail project in Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui – a 50-50 joint venture with Henderson Land Development – and its Ocean Park hotel, the company’s investment portfolio will expand 31 per cent to 1.84 million sq ft in 2017, according to Chew.

On the mainland, Lai Sun’s investment portfolio would increase to 5.61 million sq ft by 2019, up 128 per cent from 2.45 million sq ft at present, Chew said. Its mainland property development subsidiary, Lai Fung, and a unit of eSun will develop a 2.8 million sq ft “creative culture city” in Hengqin, the special economic zone off Zhuhai.

At the end of 2012, Lai Sun joined ousted Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung in buying a residential site in Tseung Kwan O for HK$2.86 billion, or HK$4,929 per sq ft.

“Taking into account construction costs, the total cost will be HK$8,000 per sq ft. Current transaction prices are more than HK$10,000 per sq ft in Tseung Kwan O. Our flats will enjoy a full sea view. The land price is okay,” he said.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:26 PM   #222
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Airport chief eyes start on third runway in September
The Standard
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The environmental assessment report will be ready by the end of this month and work on the third runway at the Hong Kong International Airport could begin as early as September.

Airport Authority chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung told The Standard's sister paper, Sing Tao Daily, the report will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Department at the end of March and he expects to receive the environmental permits by September.

Hui said the report will include the impact of reclamation on the ecology and its impact on human health, as well as possible solutions. It will also deal with noise pollution.

As an example, Hui said the technology coping with air quality affected by takeoffs and landings has been improving. Emission has been reduced to only 2 percent of the air pollutants while flight capacity has been increased.

The authority's target will be to reduce emission by half in 2050, Hui said, adding that it has also promised not to make further reclamation. "I personally think further reclamation is impossible. We should put a stop there."

Hui said international experts invited to study the Chinese white dolphins found that they would leave the area during construction but will return after the work is completed. He said the authority may also work with Ocean Park to set up shore parks in order to relieve the impact on the dolphins.

If green groups refuse to accept international standards, "I have nothing to add," Hui said.

Hui stressed the urgency of a third runway as the number of passengers, freight and flights have increased from 1,000 flights each day on average last summer to about 1,100 flights this year.

The daily maximum capacity of 1,200 flights could soon be reached, Hui said.

The authority is studying the development of the North Commercial District and a "concrete working scheme" will be ready by the middle of the year.

Commercial development needs to be considered when the number of passengers increase, Hui said.

He said the construction costs, which are about HK$130 billion, have increased sharply from HK$86.2 billion in 2010 and could increase further if there are more delays.
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Old April 11th, 2014, 12:16 PM   #223
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Running out of options
For Hong Kong to remain as a regional hub, the government must proceed soon with building a third runway at Chek Lap Kok or risk losing out to rivals
10 April 2014
South China Morning Post

Can Shenzhen airport and the other Pearl River Delta airports ride in like white knights to save the day for Hong Kong's increasingly congested Chek Lap Kok?

As environmental lobbyists continue to grab at any available straw to block construction of a third runway at the airport, it has often been claimed that airports in the delta can fly in to Hong Kong's rescue.

These lobbyists are not wrong to force the Hong Kong government to turn over every possible stone to find an alternative to building a third runway, which would be horribly expensive and the construction of which would inevitably result in inconveniences and dislocations.

But I can say with confidence they will find exactly what I found when I went through the same stone-turning exercise three years ago. The frustrating but consistent finding of the study I published in June 2011 - "Meeting future capacity challenges at the Hong Kong International Airport: Assessing the potential of alternatives to constructing a third runway" - was that we have no choice but to press ahead as speedily as possible with a third runway.

From as early as 2016, we face increasingly severe airport congestion, whatever temporary palliatives are discovered. The longer the delay, the more severe will be the diversion of business activity to competing regional hubs.

And I can promise you, I turned over every stone I could find: extending airport operating hours; increasing flights per hour from the current 60 to 80 or so; shifting flights to Macau or Zhuhai; collaborating with Shenzhen; and prioritising wide-bodied aircraft, as we were forced to do in the dying days of Kai Tak airport.

I combed the world for examples of neighbouring airports that collaborated with each other in air traffic management. I compared the five airports in the delta with the five surrounding London to see where synergies might be developed. Each avenue of investigation ran quickly into a dead end:

Flights per hour can be increased only gradually, and - because of the location in the shadow of Lantau Peak - can never be increased to the levels of an airport like Heathrow.

Airport operating hours were already being extended at maximum speed, with limits imposed by the need to maintain the runway and ensure other maintenance and safety work.

Macau's ultimate capacity, as with Zhuhai, is pitifully small, in the region of 7.2 million passengers - woefully inadequate for Hong Kong's airport, facing growth of four million passengers per year.

Shenzhen was expanding like Topsy to keep abreast of its own demand growth: there may be a tiny window between now and 2016 when Shenzhen could "gift" to Hong Kong some spare capacity, but after that, Shenzhen itself will face capacity constraints. And to put it politely, Shenzhen's airport managers made it clear that they had no intention of gifting runway capacity to what they see as their primary competitor.

As I twisted and turned around every potential solution, the same answer returned again and again. Whatever palliatives Hong Kong discovers, we will be subject to capacity constraints from 2016, and they would become increasingly severe thereafter.

Worse still, even if the imminent environmental impact assessment for the third runway proves positive and the Legislative Council gives speedy approval to the gigantic funding need, there is no realistic possibility of the third runway being ready before 2024 - by which time, on my calculations of passenger and cargo growth in the coming decade, there will already be a pressing need for a fourth runway.

In 2011, my report to airport officials and government bosses was bleak and unwelcome. If we were going to need a fourth runway by 2024, then they ought to be pressing for that now.

And if the costs of a third and fourth runway were as high as predicted, then a truly strategic government would be looking to build a wholly new airport, since it would clearly be cheaper. You can imagine the hyperventilation in government that followed.

The message from the data is nevertheless crystal clear: Hong Kong faces an urgent choice - either to move at speed to build a third runway, at the same time capturing every possible palliative to buy time, or wilfully to "gift away" to Shenzhen, Guangzhou or other as-yet built regional airports all the growth arising from Hong Kong beyond the middle of this decade.

The harm of following the second option would be incalculable, as the virtuous economic circle created by Hong Kong's rare international hubbing role dissolved and dispersed to other hubs in the region only too eager to capture business from the city.

The urgent need is for decisive government action. But as we all know, decisiveness is not something strongly associated with our current administration. We should all be anxious about the price we will pay for procrastination.

David Dodwell is the executive director of the Hong Kong-Apec Trade Policy Group
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 09:00 PM   #224
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Bill for third runway 'set to climb by $50b'
The Standard
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The construction cost of the projected third runway could exceed its original HK$130 billion budget by as much as HK$50 billion.

Building a new runway has been proposed by the government on estimates that Hong Kong International Airport will reach its capacity by 2019.

But a source told Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard, that the new estimate for the runway has reached nearly HK$150 billion. If salaries and prices of construction materials continue to rise, the final budget may hit HK$180 billion.

The source added the Airport Authority has hired consultants to study the financing while it discusses arrangements with the government.

The source also said the original estimate was low since the plan was drafted in 2008 and completed in 2011, when the economy was weak due to the financial tsunami.

With construction costs on the rise, the bill may be even bigger if there are delays.

The authority has completed the environmental impact assessment and is ready to submit it to the Environmental Protection Department, the source said. The department may demand extra information from the authority within two months of receiving the report.

If the EPD approves the environmental permit, the authority must submit the third runway design and financing arrangements to the government.

Once this is approved by the Executive Council, the authority can get construction started.

The EPD said yesterday it has yet to receive the impact assessment.

With the third runway, the airport will be able to handle more than 620,000 flights annually compared to the current 420,000 flights, satisfying the traffic demands in 2030.

Authority board member Raymond Ho Chung- tai said the original budget was only an estimate. Ho said runway construction is complicated and the budget will have to be increased.

Ho said before the authority can request funding, it has to obtain the environmental permit.

Engineering sector lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok said construction costs have been increasing over the past two to three years.

He said the industry is experiencing a manpower shortage and there had been little doubt a third runway would cost more than its original estimate.

He added the final budget will depend on the design and the technology used in the construction.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 05:47 PM   #225
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Source : http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/607/6071682.html







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Old June 21st, 2014, 04:41 AM   #226
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Environmental report key to future of third runway
21 June 2014
South China Morning Post





Public must accept assessment on airport expansion, which green groups say will harm marine environment

The fate of Hong Kong’s costliest infrastructure project – a third airport runway – hinges on how well the public accepts the results of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) unveiled yesterday.

Adding another runway would boost the capacity of the airport by about 44 per cent by 2023 to meet expected growth in air traffic. The existing two runways are forecast to reach capacity in 2019, according to the Airport Authority.

But environmentalists worry the project, the city’s biggest since the construction of the airport in the mid-1990s, could spell disaster for the area’s marine ecology because 672 hectares of seabed will be reclaimed.

They say endangered Chinese white dolphins living in or using the affected habitats off Lantau will be threatened, despite a pledge by the Airport Authority to expand a marine park when work is complete.

The authority’s chairman, Vincent Lo Hong-sui, called the results of the two-year EIA study, which is now subject to public consultation, the “most comprehensive” ever conducted in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong International Airport is strategically important to sustaining the [the city’s] development and economy,” he said. “This is why we are doing everything practicable to address the likely environmental impacts.”

No one from the authority had anything to say yesterday about the final price tag for the project, which was initially estimated at HK$136 billion but is expected to be tens of billions of dollars higher.

Tommy Leung King-yin, general manager for projects, said it was in the process of updating the cost, which would take into account all mitigation measures covered in the environmental impact report.

The airlines and logistics sector have thrown their weight behind the project, which they see as vital to maintaining the city’s status as a regional aviation hub. The airport is among the region’s busiest in terms of passenger and cargo throughput. The authority estimates the third runway (pictured on the right with a new terminal in an artist’s impression) could deliver HK$912 billion in economic benefits over 50 years. But green activists say the social and environmental costs, including carbon emissions, could also be in the hundreds of billions.

As well as the issue of the dolphins, the report addresses the project’s impact on air and water quality and noise pollution. It concludes they will be acceptable with mitigation measures. But green groups say the authority made assumptions favourable to the project in the assessment.

Public consultation on the report will be open until July 19, after which the head of the Environmental Protection Department will make a decision on the project, based on views submitted by the public and the Advisory Council on the Environment.

Environmentalists said while they had faith in the assessment system, they feared the advisory council was just a “rubber stamp”.

“There are conservationists and academics sitting on this council, but there are also many who are pro-government,” said Edwin Lau Che-feng, Friends of the Earth’s head of advocacy and an ex-council member.

Projects have rarely been rejected since the EIA Ordinance came into force in 1995.
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Old June 26th, 2014, 03:42 PM   #227
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Hong Kong needs a third runway
26 June 2014
China Daily

Last week the Airport Authority (AA) announced the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed third runway. According to the report, assessments have been performed in 12 areas covering the impact on air and noise pollution as well as upon Chinese white dolphins and fish. Needless to say, the construction of such infrastructure would affect the natural environment. The third runway is no exception.

The key is that the EIA report discusses remedial measures to minimize any negative impact on the environment. In general, the report is positive on construction of the third runway. If one looks into the EIA report in depth, it is evident that our society is keen to protect the environment. So naturally, economic development cannot be overemphasized at the expense of the environment.

However, it is also true that Hong Kong greatly needs the third runway to facilitate economic development. According to figures released by the AA, it is projected that the Hong Kong International Airport's (HKIA) capacity will reach saturation point in 2019. But strong growth in air traffic in recent years means it could reach this point even earlier. Revised estimates suggest that capacity may be saturated as early as 2016. There is already considerable pressure on capacity at the airport, so we need to expand it to cater for growing demand.

Furthermore, with Hong Kong's successful transformation into a service-based economy - with currently 92 percent of GDP derived from service industries - an efficient airport is vital as the principle point of connection both for people going overseas and for overseas visitors coming to Hong Kong. This is of particular importance to the finance industry. The industry is catering to high-end clients and professionals who need to fly to Hong Kong on business. The lack of an efficient airport inhibits development of the financial services sector, for this reason HKIA needs an upgrade - a third runway would be an important step in the right direction.

In terms of services, HKIA ranks high internationally, which means it is well suited to its role as a regional aviation hub. Its excellent standard of aviation services has brought many other businesses to the territory. From a social perspective, this generates many employment opportunities for the city. Recently, HKIA created nearly 80,000 jobs at many different levels from highly skilled to lower-level positions, benefiting many people. This was also very beneficial for the working population of Tung Chung. It also means Tung Chung residents do not need to travel long distances to work in the city.

Aside from the economic advantages, the third runway can also help consolidate Hong Kong's position as an aviation hub. In the nearby Pearl River Delta, there are five international airports: Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Macao. There is already stiff competition among these five international airports. If Hong Kong does not continue to excel in providing world-class aviation services, it could lose its leading edge as a premier aviation hub.

Those who visit airports in Guangzhou and Shenzhen will naturally take note of the facilities and services there and compare them with Hong Kong. In terms of aviation charges HKIA is more expensive, but the SAR retains its competitive edge because of its high quality of service. However, we cannot just rely solely upon our soft services. We need to ensure we constantly upgrade our infrastructure. If our airport lacks the appropriate hardware, some flights will not come here. They will move to nearby airports instead. Once we lose them, we will lose them forever. The third runway is the best way to deal with this tough competition. It can provide us with much needed capacity to ensure we remain competitive in future.

Another important reason for adding capacity to HKIA is it will create room for the entry of low-cost carriers (LCC). LCC have helped travelers and the logistics sector reduce costs. This will further boost tourism and the logistics sector. Hong Kong actually lags behind other leading aviation hubs in the development of LCC. A major reason for this is that there is not enough space for more airline companies. A third runway will provide extra capacity for LCC and bring benefits to travelers and the logistics industry.

Construction of a third runway will boost economic development. We all know this will also affect the environment. The Airport Authority's EIA report makes this clear. So we need to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development. But we should not adopt a "do nothing" approach just for the sake of the environment. Equally, we should not over-emphasize the economic benefits to the detriment of the environment. The key is to undertake sustainable economic development.

The author is dean of the School of Business at Hang Seng Management College.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #228
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Old July 1st, 2014, 08:35 AM   #229
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Fears of rising costs with runway delay
27 June 2014
The Standard

Airport Authority chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung says it is too soon to say if a third runway at Chek Lap Kok will cost up to HK$200 billion.

The estimate was HK$136.2 billion in a masterplan in 2011.

Hui now says the authority will complete an assessment of the cost of a third runway by the end of the year.

``As the construction of the third runway is a large-scale project, any minor change will have an impact on the cost,'' he said on a radio program yesterday.

But judging by views of the engineering sector, he added, ``it will not be a surprise if the overall cost will soar if the project is delayed further.''

The authority wants to start on a new runway in 2016, with completion in 2023. If it goes beyond 2023, an outlay of another HK$9 billion a year is seen.

On the same program, authority environment projects general manager Peter Lee tried to dismiss concerns of conservation groups that reclamation for the runway would seriously affect the habitat of the Chinese white dolphin.

Dolphins are intelligent enough not to stay in work areas, Lee argued. That was seen when building the airport in the 1990s, but the dolphins returned.

The authority sees a marine park of 2,400 hectares in 2023, but critics say the overall plan amounts to damaging habitat and then trying to conserve it.

An environmental study can be seen on the Environmental Protection Department's website until July 19.
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Old July 12th, 2014, 05:34 AM   #230
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Airport emission results doubted
11 July 2014
South China Morning Post

Green group fears air quality projections, less than for the adjacent delta bridge project, could be manipulated to stay within objectives

A green group is concerned that the projected air quality for a proposed third runway at Hong Kong’s airport could be “manipulated” to stay within environmental objectives.

Friends of the Earth pointed out yesterday that projections for a third runway, given in an environmental impact report released last month, are less than the estimates given about five years ago for the adjacent Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project.

“We are worried that different assumptions can be adopted or even manipulated to avoid breaching the air quality objectives,” Friends of the Earth assistant environmental affairs manager Melonie Chau Yuet-cheung said yesterday.

“If that’s the case, it is a very dangerous move that will render the assessment useless,” she said.

In the assessment for the bridge, carried out in 2008-09, nitrogen dioxide levels at Sha Lo Wan on North Lantau were projected to be 44 to 47 micrograms per cubic metre in 2031.

The bridge is currently under construction.

But in the runway assessment, conducted in the past two years and taking into account both projects, the level at the same location in the same year was projected to be 36 micrograms per cubic metre.

The bridge is linked to the eastern tip of the airport.

The group cited four other locations – including two schools and two residential blocks – in Tung Chung, where the air quality was projected to be better, taking into account both projects.

Chau said that while both projects used exactly the same modelling software to assess air quality, different assumptions yielded different results.

She said that apart from considering emissions from the project itself, the projection would also include emissions from nearby sources as well as regional air quality changes.

She suspected that the difference stemmed from the fact that the boundary crossing assumed regional air quality would flatten at 2015 levels, while the runway report assumed this would happen in 2020.

Chau said Guangdong’s air quality now played a critical role in determining if a project in Hong Kong was likely to breach air quality objectives.

She also said that Lantau was already close to the air pollution limits and squeezing in more development would be impossible without breaching the pollution targets.

And she questioned whether the assessment should cover a recent proposal for a man-made island east of Lantau.

The Airport Authority has said its assessment was based on the most up-to-date data.

It said various factors had been considered, including the proposed emission reduction measures to be adopted by the airport, and cross-border emission reduction targets for 2020 set out in 2012.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 04:03 PM   #231
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Stupid people who don't know the world of aviation is very much about narrowbody jets, too.

Let logic take off and keep airport for wide-body jets
15 July 2014
South China Morning Post

Airport chiefs are ignoring inefficiencies in the use of its two runways as they seek to justify a third, concerned groups say.

They questioned the need for the multibillion-dollar expansion of Chek Lap Kok after analysis of a million flights between 2010 and 2012 highlighted low operational efficiency of the existing runway.

SCMP, July 14

I can make a much stronger case of inefficient use of the airport than these concerned groups have done. I can make it from the Airport Authority’s own studies.

Here follows an excerpt from a discussion paper written two years ago by Kevin Poole, the airport’s deputy director of projects:

“... many of the working assumptions adopted in the early 1990s were based on the operating environment of Kai Tak Airport, which was highly constrained and fully stretched. At the time it was natural for airlines to maximise each valuable slot by deploying the biggest aircraft possible.

“The 1992 NAMP [New Airport Master Plan] therefore assumed that wide-bodied aircraft would comprise over 80% of aircraft movements, resulting in a high average passenger load forecast of more than 300 people per aircraft.

“The new airport at Chek Lap Kok provided more runway capacity, allowing airlines to increase their flight frequencies and service to secondary destinations. This has enabled HKIA to develop into an international and regional aviation hub, but it also led to the deployment of more narrow-bodied aircraft (mostly less than 200 seats).

“Since 2000, the average passenger load per aircraft has decreased to about 190. In other words, it will take 437,000 aircraft movements instead of the 278,000 originally estimated in the NAMP to serve 87 million passenger trips.

“In addition, from 1997 to 2010 the percentage of wide-bodied freighters decreased from 84% to 67% in favour of medium-sized aircraft. Therefore, moving 8.9 million tonnes of cargo will take 108,000 aircraft movements instead of the 66,000 forecast by the NAMP.”

And there you have the big secret that the Airport Authority wishes to keep hidden from us when demanding that we build a third runway for it.

The reason that our new airport has been plugged up earlier than expected is that it has 57 per cent more passenger aircraft movements than the old airport did relative to the number of passengers it handles and 64 per cent more cargo aircraft movements.

Having two runways instead of just the single one at old Kai Tak was a convenience that the airlines exploited to run far more flights of small Boeing 737s and other such microlights, many of them half empty, to minor towns in the mainland.

And now that the new airport is reaching capacity in the number of flights it can handle, they baulk at the obvious step of reserving use of it for larger aircraft as they did at Kai Tak.

Instead they expect us to suit their convenience by building another runway at a cost of up HK$200 billion so that they can continue misusing the airport by operating unsuitably small aircraft to unsuitable destinations. We spoiled them at Chek Lap Kok and they now consider the privilege their right.

But there is a very good way of letting the truth out here. Let the mighty Hong Kong dollar speak. If the airlines think that a third runway is worth HK$200 billion in convenience to their passengers, then they should be glad to make these passengers pay for it. Just allocate landing slots by auction. When the revenue from these auctions becomes sufficient to satisfy financial markets that the airport can service a HK$200 billion bond issue, then we can hit the Go button on a third runway.

And if it is not sufficient, if the passengers on the small aircraft that Chek Lap Kok now accommodates would rather save money by flying to Shenzhen and taking a bus across the border, then we could reserve Chek Lap Kok for proper use by wide-body aircraft.

So, thank you, Mr Poole, for letting the secret slip. It hasn’t slipped again since you let it out two years ago, but once was enough.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 02:33 PM   #232
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Let spoiled airlines fund Hong Kong's third runway, not the public purse
22 July 2014
South China Morning Post

An association representing 2,500 pilots in Hong Kong has voiced support for a third airport runway, saying air traffic congestion during peak hours is already forcing planes to wait 15 minutes or more to take off.

This third runway crowd is certainly getting mighty casual with our money in its demands that we lay out up to HK$200 billion to save airline customers the inconvenience of taking a flight at a not entirely suitable time.

These travellers must wait for 15 minutes if they travel at peak hours. What horror. How can they possibly put up with it? Surely Hong Kong is obliged to remedy this breach of human rights.

Don't get me wrong. I am all in favour of a third runway if air passengers and cargo shippers are willing to pay for it. Any financier, given data that the airport authority has ready to hand, can work out in less than 10 minutes what this would amount to per traveller.

If airline customers are willing to pay it, well and good. We can call in the dredgers and start work tomorrow. If they are not willing to pay it, then here is the big question: Why should the Hong Kong public purse pay for something that the beneficiaries themselves say is not worth their while?

Just auction the landing slots at peak hours and we will soon find out what price airline passengers set on reducing a 15 minute wait. It will be a good deal less than HK$200 billion, however you cut it.

The airlines misuse our airport at present with flights of unsuitably small aircraft to unsuitably minor destinations in China. These should be served by other regional airports. We run 57 per cent more flights at Chek Lap Kok than we did at the old Kai Tak airport for the same number of passengers.

And here are some further examples of how casual the Airport Authority is with your money:

Did you know that these people have so far spent HK$694 million on consultancy for this third runway project although the go-ahead stage is not even in sight yet? It certainly was the fanciest all-singing, all-dancing consultation paper in Hong Kong's history.

But what's a hundred million here or there? Or a billion, which it will soon be at this rate. Loose change, that's all, nothing really compared to what they expect us to spend if the project actually gets going.

And another example, courtesy of that sleuth of uncomfortable corporate facts, David Webb. Did you know that the airport's landing and parking charges are now an average of 15 per cent less than they were in 1998?

It's a fact - reduced from 1998. This same airport authority that wants to dig into our pockets for HK$200 billion is itself so in the pockets of the airlines that, while begging money from us, it substantially cut what it charges them.

Let's put this into further perspective. It did so despite having on hand an independent study by a reputable British air traffic consultant, LeighFisher, that our airport's charges were far lower than worldwide counterparts, the 54th lowest of 55 international airports covered.

You wonder how it happens. It's our airport. We paid for it. But the people we hire to run it do so not in our interests but in the interests of corporations that have not put a cent into it. Why?

I imagine their excuse is that the airport is already profitable enough, with earnings for the last financial year of HK$6.45 billion representing a 15.1 per cent return on equity.

It's notable, however, that this included income of HK$7.5 billion from shop rentals and other commercial revenue. The airport operations themselves ran at a loss or pretty close to it.

Oh, but you have to put the two together, say the airlines.

Nonsense. Shall shops in Causeway Bay be made to subsidise the Mass Transit Railway for bringing in their customers? Actually, I like that idea. We shall see if the airlines will join me in proposing it. They argue it for the airport. Why not for Causeway Bay?

The fact is, we spoiled them rotten and now they think it's their right.
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Old July 29th, 2014, 06:22 PM   #233
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7/27

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Old August 7th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #234
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Third runway has backing of 2,500-strong pilots group
21 July 2014
South China Morning Post

An association representing 2,500 pilots in Hong Kong has voiced support for a third airport runway, saying air traffic congestion during peak hours is already forcing planes to wait for 15 minutes or more to take off.

This has resulted in higher fuel usage and carbon emissions, according to the Hong Kong Airline Pilots Association, which represents pilots at Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express.

Sticking to just two runways could affect the city's competitiveness and status as a global aviation hub, the association's president, Captain Darryl Soligo, said.

"During peak times, it is not unusual to wait at the holding point for more than 15 minutes before take-off, with up to 10 aircraft waiting," Soligo said.

"Arrival is different. Most times of the day, we need to slow down from our optimal descent speed to get into sequence, and holding is not unusual during peak times.

"These practices will increase airtime, thus in turn increasing fuel burn and emission."

Debate over whether Chek Lap Kok airport needs a third runway was reignited after the Airport Authority, which in 2011 estimated the project would cost HK$136 billion, released its long-awaited environmental impact assessment report last month.

One of the authority's consultants, Dr Thomas Jefferson, has said a decrease in dolphin numbers was to be expected during construction.

On green matters, Soligo said he could only say that "if congestion increased, more emissions would come as a result".

His argument was challenged by Friends of the Earth assistant environmental affairs manager Melonie Chau Yuet-cheung.

Chau said an extra runway would mean more flights coming in and out of the city, ultimately increasing emissions.

She believed the existing runways could handle more than the roughly 60 flight movements now recorded per hour, pointing to the authority's 1992 report that said the system could in fact handle 86 flights.

But the Civil Aviation Department has said the 1992 report does not consider factors including the surrounding landscape.

In 2011, the authority wrote that the dual-runway system would reach its practical capacity between 2019 and 2022.

However, the International Air Transport Association reportedly suggested in its latest review that this might come between one and three years earlier than the authority had suggested.

If airlines in Hong Kong wanted to expand without a third runway, Soligo said "they either have to depart very late in the evening, after midnight, or very early in the morning. For freight operations this may be OK, but passengers do not prefer these timings."

He also called for an easing of mainland regulations that required planes from Hong Kong to fly at a minimum of 15,700 feet.

The rule means mainland-bound planes must ascend suddenly, creating traffic problems. Soligo said lowering the restriction would ease congestion and allow for more flights.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 03:52 PM   #235
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'Wishful thinking' on dolphins slammed
The Standard
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Airport Authority announced four extra measures to help conserve Chinese white dolphins after work on the proposed third runway is complete.

That came in a meeting with an Environmental Protection Department subcommittee, which criticized the authority for "wishful thinking" that dolphins fleeing their Lantau habitat will return.

Authority general manager Peter Lee Chung-tang said traffic volume at SkyPier would be capped at 99 ferry trips per day, originally predicted to rise to 115 in 2021 and 130 in 2030.

And to be funded is a marine ecology conservation management plan for the dolphins in south Lantau waters.

Night studies will be carried out on dolphin activity and funding provided for a conservation strategy in the Pearl River Estuary. The authority submitted its environmental impact assessment report to the related subcommittee under the EPD's Advisory Council on the Environment at the meeting, which continues tomorrow and Monday.

Dolphin specialists Thomas Jefferson and Bernd Wursig, advisers to the authority on the report, said dolphins are smart and it is believed they will return after work on the third runway is over.

But subcommittee vice chairman Hung Wing-tat, associate professor of civil and structural engineering at Polytechnic University, criticized the EIA report for lacking scientific evidence.

Hung said: "I swear it is wishful thinking. If there is a piece of scientific evidence, I will take back my words."
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Old August 18th, 2014, 05:49 PM   #236
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New runway ‘set to be a white elephant’
11 August 2014
South China Morning Post

A third runway at Chek Lap Kok airport will become another “white elephant”, groups opposed to the plan say.

Neither Terminal Two, built in 2007, nor the HK$1 billion North Satellite Concourse, have helped the airport increase efficiency or flight capacity, according to environmental group Green Sense and the Airport Development Concern Network.

The groups are making a last-ditch attempt to highlight the fallacies of building a third runway before the Advisory Council on the Environment begins the first of several meetings today to discuss results of a public inspection of an environmental report.

The fate of Hong Kong’s costliest infrastructure project hinges on how well the public accepts the results of the environmental assessment.

However, the groups are urging the committee to declare the environment report “no go” until it provides alternative solutions to the third runway.

“Terminal Two has no air bridges and only serves departures, not arrivals,” said network spokesman Michael Mo.

“Some of the commercial space has nothing to do with travel. The concourse, meanwhile, serves just 10 aircraft, can only be reached by bus and only serves narrow-bodied aircraft used by very few passengers,” he added.

He urged the airport to stop allowing so many narrow body jets flying to third and fourth tier cities to use up valuable airspace and timeslots.

An Airport Authority spokesman said carriers decided their own aircraft mix.

Lam Chiu-ying, now adjunct professor at the Chinese University’s department of geography and resources, said the airport operator had “bungled” management of the facility and had no justification to ask for a third runway.

Roy Tam Hoi-pong of Green Sense said: “If they can’t use the existing two runways at maximum operational efficiency then a third won’t change anything. It will just be another white elephant.”
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Old August 24th, 2014, 06:46 AM   #237
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Runway advisers hold back on giving the nod
20 August 2014
South China Morning Post

Airport officials’ measures to protect dolphins during building of third airstrip ‘unconvincing’, says subcommittee studying impact report

Prospects for a proposed third runway at Hong Kong International Airport seemed uncertain yesterday as environment advisers delayed their decision on whether to approve its environmental impact assessment study.

The advisers – from a subcommittee under the Advisory Council on the Environment – were concerned about how adequate and effective measures to mitigate the project’s impact on the threatened Chinese white dolphin habitat would be.

If the study is approved and the HK$130 billion project is given the go-ahead, some 650 hectares of prime habitat for the shrinking dolphin population would be lost to land reclamation for the third runway. Construction would last from 2016 to 2023.

The Airport Authority will respond in writing to further queries from the subcommittee, before another meeting on Monday for the advisers to deliberate their decision.

The subcommittee, which has spent 15 hours in three days grilling the authority’s officials on the environmental impact assessment study, met yesterday afternoon to discuss whether to recommend the advisory council to endorse the report.

But by the end of the meeting, it had still not drawn a conclusion on the city’s single most costly infrastructure project. The council has to submit its views by late next month to the environmental protection director, who will then decide whether to issue a work permit for the project.

A subcommittee member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said members at the meeting “freely expressed their opinions” about the report and what outstanding issues had to be further addressed by the authority.

“We haven’t come to the time to indicate our preference,” he said. “This takes time as … environmental impact assessment is a very complex issue.”

Another member said the subcommittee had a number of doubts on the mitigation measures to protect the dolphins during construction and what could be done to draw them back after the work is done. The authority’s replies had been unconvincing, he said.

The authority has so far agreed to set up a 2,400 hectare marine park to compensate for the habitat loss, but will build the park only after the runway is completed in 2023.

It also promised to re-route its Skypier high-speed ferry services and lower the ferries’ speeds during construction, but rejected suggestions to relocate the pier from the east to the west side of the airport.

The authority’s other mitigating measures include adopting a non-dredging reclamation method to reduce underwater noise that would affect the dolphins, and to set up an eco-enhancement fund to support dolphin research.

The subcommittee member said the group was also concerned about the authority’s role as a proponent of the large-scale project that would involve various government departments.

“The authority can’t speak for the government, and this leads to the question: to what extent does it have the power to do what it has pledged to do,” he said.

Samuel Hung Ka-yiu, a dolphin expert who has been opposing the runway project, said he was pessimistic that the subcommittee would reject the controversial project.

“The government’s hands are everywhere and officials will make sure that the project is passed,” he said.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 07:41 PM   #238
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Runway report ‘left out polluting vessels’
14 August 2014
South China Morning Post

The Airport Authority has come under fire for failing to assess the potential water pollution caused by construction barges working on the proposed third runway.

The concerns were raised by members of a subcommittee of the Advisory Council on the Environment, which met for the second time yesterday to scrutinise the authority’s environmental impact assessment report.

Subcommittee member Dr Billy Hau Chi-hang said he found no relevant assessment on pollution by vessels in the report.

“I visited the marine work areas of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and saw plumes of [suspended solids] surrounding the sand barges,” he said. “I suspect there will be a lot of vessels, which might not just disturb the seabed but also become a source of [pollution] leakages.”

Fellow member Gary Ades shared Hau’s concern. He asked what lessons the authority had learnt from the bridge project.

Eric Ching Ming-kam, a consultant for the authority, admitted it did not assess the likely impact on water quality because the vessels would be subject to a speed limit of 10 knots per hour.

He said there were guidelines for contractors to control leakages from their vessels and a response plan for any spills.

Another member, Jonathan Wong Woon-chung, suggested the authority return with an estimate of the number of vessels used and their likely impact.

The authority was also grilled over its planned deployment of silt curtains for the reclamation of 650 hectares of sea.

Ching said it had never assessed the effectiveness of having the whole work area sealed by silt curtains – a barrier to confine pollutants within certain areas. He insisted the most effective way of protecting the area was to deploy the curtains only at a number of “strategic and active” areas.

Meanwhile, a poll commissioned by WWF Hong Kong found that 47 per cent of 1,000 respondents supported the runway project despite the environmental impact – much less than the 73 per cent found in a 2011 poll conducted by the authority.

“It is obvious people are less supportive of the project after learning more about the environmental impacts,” said Samantha Lee Mei-wah, a marine conservation officer with the group.

About 71 per cent of respondents in the latest poll did not believe or had doubts about the authority’s claims that dolphins would return to the affected waters after the runway was built.

About 58 per cent did not believe the government would strike a good balance between development and conservation.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 07:05 PM   #239
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Government accused of marine park pledge to take pressure off bid for third runway
2 September 2014
South China Morning Post

In the midst of environmental hearings on a proposed third runway, conservation authorities have made a surprise pledge to designate two new marine parks off Lantau Island by 2017.

The announcement was made as government advisers continued deliberation on the Airport Authority's environmental report on the proposed additional runway at Chek Lap Kok.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the announcement, which ends a 12-year impasse, was not related to the runway proposal.

It said it was a response to public concern and part of its own Chinese white dolphin conservation programme.

The proposed parks will cover 660 hectares off southwest Lantau and 1,270 hectares around the Soko Islands archipelago, in a bid to enhance protection for the endangered dolphin and finless porpoise.

But Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu suspected the move was made by the government to take pressure off the authority.

"The authority's [report] and the long-delayed designation of the two marine parks cannot be grouped together.

"We never said this could be a compensation measure for the third runway and it cannot be one. Marine parks cannot mitigate the [650 hectares of] habitat loss," he said.

He urged subcommittee members of the Advisory Council on the Environment, who will meet today, not to accept the new plans as justification for the airport expansion.

An authority spokesman said the government's latest park plan was not part of its report but it would "complement" its own conservation measures to protect the dolphin population.

"We will launch another round of public engagement in 2015 and take other necessary steps and seek to complete the statutory procedure for the designation by early 2017," a department spokesman said.

Proposals to designate the two marine parks span back to 2002 but never came to fruition due to opposition from the fisheries sector and Lantau residents.

Dr Michael Lau Wai-neng, a senior programme head at WWF Hong Kong, said the move was welcome, but was not enough. "There is a consensus among scientists that [dolphin] habitat can only be protected by linking up the parks along the Tai O fringe, to the existing Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park," he said.

The authority's proposal for a 2,400 hectare marine park connecting Sha Chau and another proposed park northeast of Lantau has been dismissed as ineffectual as it would be designated only after the runway's completion in 2023.

Lawmaker Steven Ho Chun-yin, of the agriculture and fisheries sector, said the industry would likely oppose the park plan if it hurt fishermen's livelihoods.

He said that on issue would be whether fishing permits for the marine parks would be allowed to be transferable.

"The government will have to consult the industry further," Ho said.

The Country and Marine Parks Board will be consulted on the draft maps at a "suitable time" before it is published for public inspection, the department said.
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Old September 14th, 2014, 03:55 PM   #240
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Wan Chai to land runway protest
The Standard
Friday, September 12, 2014

Green groups and residents of Park Island plan to protest outside the Revenue Tower on Monday in a last-minute attempt to derail the approval of the third airport runway.

The Advisory Council on the Environment will be at the Wan Chai landmark to discuss an environmental impact assessment report into the planned runway by the Airport Authority.

Green Sense representatives, five Park Island residents and three legislators said noise pollution problems for thousands of people living in and around Ma Wan and the Tuen Mun Gold Coast will not be solved by suggestions contained in the report.

Legislator Gary Fan Kwok-wai said: "The report is unrealistically assuming that the minimum height limit set by China, an `invisible wall', blocking Hong Kong's northbound flight, will be removed once the third runway is built."

Many more aircraft will need to stay in midair and take the indirect route through Ma Wan or even Tseung Kwan O until they reach the height over the "invisible wall," Fan claimed.

The authority confirmed there are airspace restrictions.

However only 23 percent of aircraft fly through the airspace of the Pearl River Delta.
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