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Cablegate: Airport Capacity Expansion in Hong Kong Amid

VZCZCXRO7526
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHHK #0077 0140335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140335Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9385
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC

UNCLAS HONG KONG 000077

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM
STATE ALSO FOR EAP/EEB
BEIJING FOR TSA EICKHOFF AND FAA POWER
USDOC FOR ITA/CS/ADVOCACY CTR - 3004 FOR: XFUNG AND TFOX
USDOC ALSO FOR ITA/MAC/OCEA - 4420 FOR: TDYCUS
USDOC ALSO FOR ITA/MAS/AEROSPACE - 6950 FOR: FELLIOT
USDOC ALSO FOR ITA/CS/OIO/EAP - 3132 FOR: ADESARRAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON ECIN TW HK
SUBJECT: AIRPORT CAPACITY EXPANSION IN HONG KONG AMID
ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND CROSS-STRAITS WARMING

1. (SBU) The Hong Kong Government (HKG) has decided to move
forward with airport upgrade and expansion plans despite the
combined pressures of the economic crisis and the loss of
Taiwan passenger volume to cross-strait direct flights.
During a recent meeting with the Consulate, Airport Authority
of Hong Kong's (AAHK) CEO Stanley Hui reaffirmed the
government's commitment to additional infrastructure projects
for Hong Kong's international transportation and logistics
development.

2. (SBU) One of these projects is the expansion of Hong Kong
International Airport's (HKIA) midfield. Plans include the
construction of additional aircraft stands, apron facilities,
and a new passenger concourse between HKIA's two existing
runways. During his annual Policy Address in October 2009,
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang referenced this
project as tangible support for the city's logistics sector,
one of Hong Kong's traditional pillar industries. A
preliminary study of the midfield expansion should be
completed in early 2010, followed by ground breaking later in
the year. AAHK will also unveil in 2010 the airport's
"Master Plan 2030," a 20-year blueprint for HKIA that would
likely entail additional land reclamation.

3. (SBU) Another proposed expansion project is the
installation of a new air traffic management system (ATMS).
HKG's Civil Aviation Department (CAD) will accept tenders for
the ATMS' design, supply and installation until February 5,
2010. According to Hong Kong's Secretary for Transport and
Housing Eva Cheng, the new system must be capable of doubling
the existing system's capacity to meet forecast demand
through 2025. The new system will be housed at CAD's new
administrative headquarters building currently under
construction. This venue will also house other value-added
facilities, such as an auditorium, a training and research
center, dormitories for students and accident investigators,
and an aviation exhibits public area. This public area,
referred to as the "Education Path," could offer export
opportunities to U.S. airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and
aviation service firms hoping to reach audiences at one of
the world's largest transport hubs.

4. (SBU) Air cargo throughput at HKIA rose to 344,000 in
November 2009, or 16% higher than the same period in 2008.
Passenger volume and aircraft movements for the month,
however, declined by 0.4% and 5.2% respectively. On a
12-month basis, HKIA recorded 46 million passengers, 3.3 tons
of cargo, and 280,035 flight movements, representing
decreases of 5.8%, 12.4%, and 7.3% from 2008.

5. (SBU) According to a December 10 HKIA press release, a 21%
year-on-year rise in Hong Kong resident traffic partially
offset declining international passenger traffic.
Transfer/transit passengers fell 12% for the period, a side
effect of warming relations across the Taiwan Strait. Having
historically been a hub for those traveling between Taiwan
and the Mainland, HKIA has lost about three million
passengers since the two governments eased direct flight
restrictions, Hui acknowledged. To offset this passenger
loss, HKIA has invested in developing and marketing its
"multi-modal" capabilities (e.g., air-to-surface,
air-to-rail, and air-to-water) for those visiting cities in
China's Pearl River Delta (PRD). For example, over 300 bus
trips connect passengers between HKIA and 90 PRD cities
daily. Thousands of passengers also travel onward by ferry
from HKIA's "SkyPier", an adjacent seaport facility
inaugurated in December 2009 that connects passengers with
Shekou, Fuyong, Nansha, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, and
Macau.
MARUT

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