The Airport Authority (AA) announced Monday that a special levy on air passengers will come into effect from August to help finance the construction of a new runway at the Hong Kong airport.
Tickets issued on or after August 1 will include the new fee on departing and transit passengers, it said.
The airport construction fee (ACF) will be collected by airlines at the time of ticket issuance.
The special fee will enable the AA to build a third runway at the airport, a project that is expected to cost more than US$18 billion.
The levy will depend on flight distance, ticket class, and whether the flight type is origin-destination or transit/transfer.
For passengers starting their journey in Hong Kong, the ACF for short-haul flights will be HK$90 for economy class tickets and HK$160 for first or business class tickets.
For long-haul flights, the fee for economy and first/business class tickets will be HK$160 and HK$180, respectively.
As for transit/transfer passengers, short-haul flights will involve a fee of HK$70 and long-haul flights HK$160 for economy class tickets. The ACF for those who take first/business class is HK$160 for short-haul and HK$180 for long-haul.
AA expects that about seven in ten passengers departing from Hong Kong will pay an ACF of HK$90 or less.
That has, however, not stopped some citizens’ groups from expressing concerns about the levy. Some people slammed the ACF as unwarranted while others felt the fee was too high.
Roy Tam, chief executive of environmental group Green Sense, said the ACF is premature as several judicial review cases are either pending or about to be filed against the runway project, Apple Daily reported.
Some travel industry professionals, meanwhile, believe that air passengers will take the fee in their stride.
Huen Kwok-chuen, executive director of EGL tours, said he doesn’t think the special fee will deter people from traveling abroad for vacations.
However, there could be a scramble for purchasing air tickets before the levy kicks in on Aug. 1, he said.
AA said the ACF collection could remain in effect until 2031.
Singtao Daily noted that a 15-year timeframe for the levy is twice as long as that was originally flagged by the airport operator last year.
The runway project, which is estimated to cost about HK$141.5 billion (US$18.21 billion) and will takes eight years to be completed, will see its initial land reclamation work begin on Aug.1 as well, according to AA.
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