In good news for Hong Kong’s wealthy and business elite, the Airport Authority has announced a HK$400 million doubling of Hong Kong’s private jet capacity, expanding the city’s business aviation site area to six acres and quadrupling the Executive Terminal footprint.
Cissy Chan Ching-sze, AAHK Executive Director for Commercial, and Mr Allen Fung, Chairman of the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC), signed the expansion agreement, witnessed by key HKBAC shareholders Raymond Kwok, Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Sir Michael Kadoorie, and Philip Kadoorie.
“In the New Normal [sic], increased attention will also be paid to enhancing hygiene and safety, as well as flexibility and privacy for clients,” said HKBAC in a press release.
The expansion will be completed by 2025 and will see major refurbishment of the Executive Terminal, with an upgraded co-located mainland customs, immigration and quarantine facility and an all-weather canopy connecting the building to the aircraft apron. Support areas will also be upgraded.
Raymond Kwok said he was optimistic travel restrictions would ease soon. “[We] firmly believe that, with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, travel restrictions will be relaxed in time and Hong Kong will then regain its vitality,” he said.
Michael Kadoorie said the new facilities would enhance the Central Government’s proposed “one-hour living circle” idea for the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
“Business aviation, with the option of cross-boundary helicopter commercial services, provides the connectivity to drive and support the one-hour living circle proposition from Hong Kong to other cities across the GBA,” he said.
HKBAC says 65 of the top 100 Hong Kong–listed companies still use private jets, with the Hong Kong terminal recording a peak of 9,000 flights for over 40,000 passengers a year.
Environmentalists say private jets are some of the worst forms of transport in terms of carbon emissions, with estimates of between 8-10 times more CO2 produced per passenger than through a commercial flight. The Independent says the most carbon-efficient way to fly is in economy class on an airline with a high “load factor”.
But China has denounced global aviation efforts to reduce CO2, claiming developed nations must play their part first. Earlier, China said the objective of neutral carbon growth by 2020 was short of scientific justification, fairness and feasibility.
The country plans to double its number of airports by 2035 with megahubs planned for the GBA and “JingJinJi” (Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei) regions.