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Hong Kong Airport Runway May Cause Pollution to Exceed Limit – Bloomberg

Hong Kong Airport Runway May Cause Pollution to Exceed Limit

By Jasmine Wang – Aug 9, 2011 8:59 PM GMT+0800

Hong Kong airport’s proposed HK$136 billion ($17 billion) third runway may cause the level of pollutant nitrogen dioxide in the facility’s vicinity to exceed the limit set by the city’s government, according to a study.

Annual cumulative concentrations of the gas in the airport and nearby areas may range between 16.5 micrograms and 81.1 micrograms per cubic meter, Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd., appointed by the Airport Authority Hong Kong to assess the effect on air quality, said in its report. The government has proposed halving the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide, found in vehicle exhaust, in Hong Kong to 40 micrograms per cubic meter.

The consultant’s 2010 report was one of the eight posted on the authority’s website yesterday as it performs a three-month public consultation to end Sept. 2. Another report by HSBC Holdings Plc said rising construction costs may increase the authority’s pre-financing cash shortfall.

The air quality report was based on a maximum projected capacity of 620,000 annual flight movements. The authority will conduct a more detailed assessment and ensure the project complies with the law, it said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg News questions. The authority also said HSBC’s report “has sought to establish a prudent financing plan such that the underlying financial profile of the AAHK remains robust.”

Cash Shortfall

The authority’s HK$112.8 billion pre-financing cash shortfall for the new runway may increase to HK$133 billion because of rising construction costs, according to a May 31 report by HSBC, a financial adviser for the project.

The third runway will cost HK$86.2 billion in 2010 prices, equivalent to HK$136.2 billion with inflation, according to the authority’s estimates.

Asia’s third-busiest airfield is considering the new runway to serve an estimated 97 million passengers by 2030. The project, which may take about nine years to complete, will also help handle 8.9 million tons of cargo.

The airport may need to reclaim about 650 hectares of land from the sea to build the runway. Groups including Civic Party lawmakers have opposed the plan on concern about its effect on marine wildlife, including the endangered pink dolphin.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293), the city’s biggest carrier, said on June 2 that it gave “full and unequivocal backing” for the third runway. The city’s airport boosted passenger numbers about 10 percent last year to 50.9 million, trailing only Beijing and Tokyo Haneda in Asia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at

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