Hong Kong Can Retain International Aviation Hub Status, Lam Says
(Bloomberg) -- Even though Hong Kong is one of the few places left in the world adhering to a Covid-zero approach, the city’s Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam believes the Asian financial center can retain its status as a international aviation hub.
“Although the global aviation industry, with Hong Kong being no exception, has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, I remain confident that our status as an international aviation hub could be consolidated and enhanced,” Lam said in her policy address to the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
The construction of a 3,800-meter-long third runway will help Hong Kong International Airport’s competitiveness and the reclamation of around 650 hectares of land is largely complete. HKIA is also “proceeding at full speed with various high-end logistics projects in view of the rapid development of cross-boundary e-commerce in the region,” she said.
Hong Kong is also keen to establish an aviation industrial cluster in Zhuhai in southern China that would deal with things like aircraft maintenance, parts manufacturing and research on aircraft engineering. That Chinese city, along with others in the Greater Bay Area, could also be a source of talent.
Boeing Co. said recently that China’s civil aviation industry will need more than 400,000 new personnel including pilots, cabin crew and technicians by 2040, as well as 8,700 new aircraft.
Lam also outlined greater cooperation with Zhuhai airport, saying the Airport Authority of Hong Kong will inject equity “on the basis of market principles,” although no further details were given.
In other transport highlights:
- Lam referred to the “one-hour living circle” in the Greater Bay Area after discussing three cross-boundary projects, including the enormous Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Hong Kong and Shenzhen have a taskforce to jointly develop rail infrastructure. She also spoke about a quota-free system for private cars traveling from Hong Kong to Guangdong over the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. That will have to wait until borders reopen, of course.
- New railway projects include a Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Railway to reach Qianhai, extending the planned Northern Link to the new Huanggang Port in Shenzhen, and potentially expanding the East Rail Line to Luohu next to Shenzhen.
- Lam also touched on tourism, which due in large part to Hong Kong’s onerous quarantine measures, remains depressed. She said the city needs to “get prepared for the recovery” and that includes planning for cruise-industry development and facilitating the staging of various events.
- In terms of green transport, Lam reiterated the government’s pledge to cease the new registration of fuel-propelled and hybrid private cars in 2035 or earlier and install more electric-car charging facilities. Local authorities will also work with bus companies “to conduct trials of hydrogen-fuel-cell buses, with a view to formulating a specific roadmap and timetable for the use of new energy public transport in 2025.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.