AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong desperately needs the third runway: DHL

This, as passenger market grows by 6.7% from 45 million international in 2009 to 62.2 million in 2014.

Air freight is also expected to grow from 3 million tonnes in 2009 to 5.3 million tonnes by 2014.

In a statement, DHL believes the proposal to expand Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to include three runways is crucial to meeting the territory’s future need for cargo capacity and stay economically competitive. In 2010, HKIA overtook Memphis to become the world’s busiest cargo hub as a result of surging exports from China and the Pearl River Delta with cargo volumes up 23.1% year-on-year to 4.17 million tons.

Jerry Hsu, CEO, Asia Pacific, DHL Express, said: “The ‘global shift’ that has taken Hong Kong to the top will continue powered by growth in China. By 2030, according to the Airport Authority of Hong Kong, HKIA cargo volume will almost double to 8.9 million tons. For Hong Kong to continue to outperform the regional economy, it must maintain its excellence in infrastructure as superior capacity, connections and service quality are key to continued economic growth.”

In 2010, DHL Global Forwarding saw total air freight volumes almost return to pre-recession highs with exports continuing to make up the lion’s share. As a result of expected growth in the region, DHL is investing in Centers of Excellence in Hong Kong dedicated to the fashion and apparel, life science and retail sectors to provide excellence in logistics for global and local customers.

Kelvin Leung, CEO, North Asia Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding, said: “While Hong Kong currently outperforms its population size on the world stage because of its connectivity, this could change if infrastructure fails to keep pace with growth. For example, if HKIA is unable to open new destinations, expand flight frequencies or maintain schedules during bad weather or emergencies because it does not have enough runways, Hong Kong will suffer economically as logistics providers and companies will have to reroute or rethink their supply chains.”

Mr. Leung pointed out that not only does Hong Kong have a vital hub role to play as an export point for China, imports are set to soar too. “With Asia’s consumers expected to increase their spending from US$4.3 trillion in 2008 to US$32 trillion annually by 2030 – equal to some 43% of global consumer spending by then[1], imports into Asia are expected to soar with the people of Hong Kong and China demanding more and better consumer goods from around the globe.”

HKIA’s top-ranking record levels of cargo in 2010 signals that the post-recession recovery is well underway. With IATA forecasting that the Hong Kong passenger market will grow by 6.7 percent annually from 45 million international in 2009 to 62.2 million in 2014 and air freight expected to grow from 3 million tonnes in 2009 to 5.3 million tonnes by 2014, the airport is growing faster than any other in the world at a rate that is accelerating.

“The ideal location for an express hub is determined by the location’s geo-commercial value, its airport infrastructure and its operating environment. We've based our Central Asia Hub – one of our three global hubs in the world – in Hong Kong for its central location with regards to the economies of the Pearl River Delta. We're further investing to leverage trade synergies in Hong Kong and the Greater China region where we're awaiting the completion of our USD 175million (€120 million) North Asia Hub, set to open in 2012 at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport,” said Mr. Hsu.

Built in 1992 to handle 87 million passengers and 9 million tonnes of cargo, HKIA is currently estimated to be operating at 93 percent capacity, and will reach saturation by 2017. HK airport authority has said the HKIA’s two runways will run out of capacity by 2020. 

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