The Hong Kong government has given its nod to expand the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) into a three-runway system worth $17.2bn to handle growing passenger numbers and air cargo.
The project would include the construction of a new runway, taxiways and aprons, a third runway concourse, an expanded Terminal 2, an automated people mover and a baggage handling system.
The Airport Authority (AA) Hong Kong said that it would need eight years to complete the project and is hoping to complete the construction by 2023.
The new runway will be constructed on 650 hectares (1,600 acres) of land reclaimed from the sea.
With the airport becoming a three-runway system (3RS), its capacity is expected to increase by 30 million passengers annually.
Chairman of the AA Vincent Lo Hong-sui said: "Expanding HKIA into a three-runway system provides obvious benefits. It will consolidate our city's status as an international and regional aviation hub, spur economic development and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. This is a project for Hong Kong, and we are committed to taking it forward."
Apart from the current constructions, the airport will also reserve land for future expansions.
The project will be funded through three channels, bank loans and bonds, HKIA's operational surplus, and end-users, including passengers and airlines, the airport said.
AA CEO Fred Lam said: "Around 70% of HKIA's passengers are non-Hong Kong residents. Our suggested user-pay principle makes good sense, because subsidising the project through the Government means local taxpayers would be footing the bill for overseas passengers.
"We understand that ExCo has concerns about the amount that would be charged to passengers. We will look into further adjustments and determine whether they are feasible."
Image: An overview of the Hong Kong airport's third runway concourse. Photo: courtesy of Airport Authority Hong Kong.