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Difficult to get airspace concession

During the presentation the Airport Authority was giving to the Town Planning Board on April 10, Wilson Fung Wing-yip, the authority’s executive director of corporate development, broached a future master plan being drafted wherein a study would be carried out into the need for a fourth runway or even a replacement airport.

Better late than never, this planning work.

But it is hoped the logistics of the planning work will not be “cart before the horse” this time, so that the need for a fourth runway or otherwise will be identified before resources are committed to add the third runway to Chek Lap Kok. For it is patently obvious that there is no possibility of adding a fourth runway at Chek Lap Kok.

The crux of the “third runway at Chek Lap Kok” airspace cloud we’re under is simply whether the mainland authorities had given the specific blessing for traffic from the third runway to turn north so that at least two of the three runways can be operated independent of each other, to enable a total capacity of 102 movements to be achieved.

The rest is empty talk. This is by no means an easy concession to grant, considering the criss-crossing between each other’s traffic, as can be seen on the diagram attached to the report “Airspace conflict could hold back third runway” (January 23).

If it was easy, it would have been granted for traffic from the present north runway to turn north, to enable the present two runways to operate independent of each other, achieving far more than the 68 movements an hour projected for later this year.

The quest for this concession is what started the umpteen tripartite meetings, starting before 1997.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

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