Hong Kong is a major centre of international and regional aviation served by some 88 airlines. Each week there are over 5,790 flights providing services to over 153 destinations world-wide. It is the gateway to the mainland of China and some 40 cities in the mainland are linked to Hong Kong by scheduled and/or non-scheduled services.
Air transport is an important link between Hong Kong and the rest of the world. The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is one of the world's busiest airports. Air traffic continued to record impressive growth in 2007. In 2007, the HKIA handled a total of 47.78 million passengers, an increase of 7.5% from 2006. The HKIA also handled some 3.74 million tonnes of air cargo, an increase of 4.5%. Aircraft movements in the same year increased by 5.3% to about 295,000. In 2007, of the 28.16 million visitors to Hong Kong, around 33% came by air. In 2007, in value term, the HKIA handled about 38.5%, 30.3% and 31.4% of Hong Kong's total imports, exports and re-exports respectively in the same year.
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is committed to
maintaining Hong Kong's position as a centre of international and regional aviation; and
ensuring that Hong Kong's airport capacity and air services are sufficient to meet the needs of the travelling public and shippers.
As provided for in the Basic Law, the HKSAR shall continue its previous civil aviation management system and keep its own aircraft register. It shall also be responsible on its own for matters of routine business and technical management of civil aviation including the management of airports, the provision of air traffic services within the flight information region of Hong Kong and the discharge of other responsibilities allocated to it under the regional air navigation procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
These objectives are being achieved through work of the Bureau, the Civil Aviation Department(CAD) and the Airport Authority (AA). The Bureau has policy responsibility for civil aviation. It has policy oversight over the work of the CAD, liaises with the AA on civil aviation-related matters and is responsible for air services negotiations. The CAD is responsible for civil aviation management. It regulates Hong Kong airlines and aircraft registered in Hong Kong. The AA is responsible for providing, operating, maintaining and developing the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok.
The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
The HKIA is located on a 1,255 hectare site at the north of the Lantau Island. As part of the Airport Core Programme (ACP), a transport network comprising both the Lantau Link and the Airport Express Railway provides convenient links between the airport and the urban areas.
The AA, a Government owned statutory corporation, is established by the Airport Authority Ordinance (Cap. 483) under the care and management of a Board comprising both public officers and non-public officers. The Authority is required by the Ordinance to conduct its business according to prudent commercial principles.
The cost for the first phase of the airport is HK$70.3 billion (money of the day). This comprises HK$49.8 billion for works of the AA, HK $5.1 billion for Government facilities and HK$15.4 billion for facilities of franchisees from the private sector.
While the AA is the body to manage and operate the airport, certain key services are provided by Government, including air traffic control and aviation meteorological services. The Fire Services Department provides aircraft rescue and fire-fighting services. In addition, CAD retains regulatory functions relating to aerodrome and aircraft safety.
The airport provides ample opportunities for private sector participation in the provision of airport support services such as air cargo, aircraft catering, aviation fuel supply system, aircraft maintenance and aircraft ramp handling. The Airport Authority awards more than one franchise for each of these services to encourage competition, except for the aviation fuel supply where competition is ensured through a policy of open access to the fuel supply system by all qualified fuel suppliers.
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the most important gateway hubs of China. According to the HKIA 2025 which shows the course for the long-term development of the HKIA, the Airport Authority will continue to serve to establish a seamless convergence of air, road, rail and sea links so that the Pearl River Delta region is connected to HKIA’s well established international destination network. It is estimated that HKIA will serve close to 80 million passengers and handle 8 million tonnes of cargo and 490,000 aircraft movements per year by 2025. AA and CAD are working closely to maximize the capacity of the existing two runways. AA will also undertake a feasibility study on the construction of a third runway.
Further information on the HKIA is available on the homepage of the Airport Authority (www.hongkongairport.com).
Under the Basic Law, acting under specific authorizations from the Central People's Government, the Government of the HKSAR may negotiate and conclude new air services agreements providing routes for airlines incorporated in the HKSAR and having their principal place of business there and providing rights for overflights and technical stops. These agreements cover scheduled services to, from or through Hong Kong, which do not operate to, from or through the mainland of China. The Basic Law also provides that the Central People's Government shall give the Government of the HKSAR the authority to negotiate and conclude with other authorities all arrangements concerning the implementation of air services agreements.
Hong Kong has so far signed air services agreements with 58 countries, namely, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the USA and Vietnam. Hong Kong has also signed overflight agreements with Maldives, Lithuania, the Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus and Ukraine. Our objective is to continue to work towards concluding air services agreements with new aviation partners. The texts of the air services agreements are available at http://www.legislation.gov.hk/table1ti.htm
Arrangements for air services between the HKSAR and other parts of the People's Republic of China are made by the Central People's Government in consultation with the Government of HKSAR in accordance with the Basic Law.
The HKIA provides ample opportunities for Hong Kong's air services to grow. This is important to meet the increasing traffic demand arising from the growth in Hong Kong's business, trade, tourism and other links with the rest of the world. Negotiation of ASAs with new aviation partners and review of traffic arrangements from time to time with existing partners are therefore on-going tasks.