Airport Authority Hong Kong is considering charging passengers and airlines, among other means, to fund the HK$141.5 billion construction of the third runway, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.
The Executive Council has approved the plan to build the runway, which could be the city’s most expensive stand-alone infrastructure project.
The latest estimate of the total investment in the new runway, which excludes support facilities such as the air control tower, exceeds the one in the airport’s plan in 2011, when the figure was put at HK$136.2 billion.
The airport authority is raising its surcharge to airlines by 15 percent next year, sending the fee back to the level in 2000.
It proposes to charge each departing passenger an infrastructure levy of HK$180 in the eight years through 2023 if construction begins next year.
The airport authority will also fund the construction with its 10-year surplus and by issuing debt.
Local carriers Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (00293.HK) and its subsidiary Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd. have blasted the proposal to impose the financial burden on users, saying the AAA-rated airport should have no problem funding the project by other means.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, said the proposed HK$180 infrastructure fee for passengers is too high, accusing the government of trying to bypass the Legislative Council in approving the construction budget.
The government, however, argued that Hong Kong’s airport charges are the second-lowest among 55 airports surveyed by a consulting firm it commissioned.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 17.
Translation by Vey Wong
[Chinese version 中文版]
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