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September 11th, 2011:

Build third runway at Shenzhen

Letter to South China Morning Post

In its future development plan, the Hong Kong Airport Authority put forward two options.

Option one would maintain the existing two-runway system and this would cost costs HK$42.5 billion. Option two would see a three-runway system costing HK$136.2 billion

These proposals have major flaws. It is thinking within the box; there is a third option.

The authority has overlooked the serious implication of air pollution resulting from an unbridled increase in flights.

Many overseas companies and expatriate staff are already relocating to Singapore because of air pollution in Hong Kong.

A third option would be to build the third runway outside Hong Kong. Take a regional perspective and think in terms of Pearl River Delta regional development. The third runway can be located at Shenzhen airport, as the gateway for all passengers from China. A new airport railway can be built linking Shenzhen and Hong Kong airports.

Help can be sought from the central government to identify another plot of farmland in or outside Shenzhen to build a new supporting airport for Hong Kong, with capacity to build the fourth runway.

We would benefit from this plan in a number of ways.

The development plan would not be confined to the administrative boundaries of Hong Kong.

It would circumvent the prohibitively expensive reclamation costs and the labour shortage in Hong Kong.

It would be ore environmentally friendly, for marine ecology and air quality in Hong Kong. There would Increased regional co-operation which would benefit all parties concerned.

There would be a re-prioritisation of the landing space of Hong Kong airport to high value-added flights.

Sam Chow Tung-shan, Mid-Levels