Hong Kong to raise $18bn for third runway

The Hong Kong Airport Authority has revealed plans to raise HK$141.5bn ($18bn) to build a third runway at its international airport on the reclaimed island of Chek Lap Kok.

The finance director of the profitable airport boasts that banks are lining up to lend money for the ambitious scheme.

The expansion includes reclaiming 650ha of land, building a 3,800m runway and supporting taxiway systems, a new passenger building and apron, an expanded terminal and other upgrades.

Work on dredging up land for the runway began last year, but the government of the special administrative region had not decided how it will be funded.

A report by the consulting arm of HSBC, released yesterday (26 September), said that $6bn would come from the airport’s operating surplus, and $3.3bn would be raised from a passenger surcharge of up to $23 on departing passengers. The remaining money would be taken care of by bank loans and bonds, some of which Hong Kong residents would be able to buy.  

William Lo Chi-chung, the airport authority’s finance director, told the South China Morning Post that raising the money would be made easier given his organisation’s credit rating, joking that as soon as the report was released, the banks were calling him up to ask if he needed a loan.

Chek Lap Kok is the ninth busiest airport in the world, with annual passenger throughput of 70 million people.

Image: Hong Kong International Airport as it is now (Shizhao/Creative Commons)

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