AVIATION, HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's 2021 budget to bolster aviation, tourism: Cathay Pacific

Air Travel Bubbles will allow Hong Kong to open its borders for international travels.

Aviation-specific measures under the 2021/22 budget will provide support for hard-hit industries, Cathay Pacific said, as Hong Kong continues to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan on 24 February delivered Hong Kong’s spending plan for the year 2021-2022, a part of which included resuming discussions on Air Travel Bubble arrangement.

“We are pleased the government will discuss and work out arrangements regarding the introduction of Air Travel Bubbles, which will pave the way for the resumption of international air travel,” Cathay Pacific CEO Augustus Tang said.

Tang also welcomed the government’s additional support to revive the tourism industry through efforts that will attract visitors as cross-boundary travel gradually resumes.

The government also proposed to explore measures to facilitate trans-shipment through Hong Kong and redevelop the Air Mail Centre at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). The Air Mail Centre is targeted to be operational by end of 2027 at the earliest.

“We also share the view that Hong Kong’s air cargo sector plays a leading role in the world and welcome the Government’s continued focus on enhancing the city’s intermodal transportation services to reinforce Hong Kong’s position as the international air cargo hub of the Greater Bay Area (GBA),” Tang said.

“As the home carrier of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is committed to strengthening Hong Kong’s position as a ‘double gateway’ connecting the world and the GBA,” he added.

The cargo handling capacity of HKIA is expected to increase to 9m tonnes in 2024 with the expansion of existing terminals and commissioning of a new premium logistics centre and Three Runway System.

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