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Airport suffers under rival masters

Letters to the Editor, August 10, 2013

Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 12:00am


Airport suffers under rival masters

I refer to the letter by Keith Moran (“Air-traffic controllers the key element [4]“, July 27) which refers to Albert Cheng King-hon’s column (“Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway [5]“, July 19).

They both showed there is no genuine need for a third runway at Hong Kong airport, but there must be more efficient take-offs and landings.

The present problem is created by the fact that the Civil Aviation Department operates flight movements while the airport property is run by the Airport Authority. It has dual roles as property developer and property management company.

As a property developer and management company, the more property the authority holds the better, as it can also collect more rent. But unlike a genuine developer, developments are all financed by taxpayers and airport users, while the so-called profits are credited to the authority. And being a typical government department, the Civil Aviation Department is not interested in creating more work for its staff, which by its own standards are already overworked.

The department and authority will never work together because they have different vested interests, one in doing as little as possible and the latter empire-building and paying airport staff high salaries. They will not work together unless forced to.

This can only be achieved by having a government think tank do an independent study. This is necessary as studies for more developments at the airport have been financed or sponsored by the authority. Without an independent review, billions in public money will again be wasted, which is what happened with the building of Terminal 2.

It is full of empty restaurants which serve as airport staff canteens, and shops for staff and Tung Chung residents, all built with taxpayers’ money.

The authority’s overstaffing and high salaries must also come under the spotlight.

Dora Li, Admiralty



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