One of my favorite airports is getting a facelift…..
Earlier this month, an 18-year long project kicked off that will add a much needed runway to Hong Kong Int’l Airport (HKG). The construction began after years of regulatory process and public protest, going back to 2008.
The plans call for a parallel runway to compliment the 2 existing East-West runways. The new expansion will include the reclamation of land to the north of the airport that will take at least 4 years. At that point, the existing northern most runway will be modified to act as a center runway and the construction of a 3rd runway will begin. Up to 3 new passenger concourses will also be built that will link by rail to the existing concourses.
A new northern runway complex goes online in 2024
It looks like the southern runway will become a dedicated Cargo runway since it is adjacent to Hong Kong’s Cargo ‘city’ thus freeing up the existing north runway and the planned new runway to handle passenger traffic.
For planespotters, it means the favorite spot by the fire-boat dock by the maintenance facilities won’t be as good when the 3rd runway opens since it will take traffic at least 1/2 mile further away from the vantage point, but I suspect the new concourses will make up for the lack of views from the docks.
The new look of HKG….rendering courtesy of Hong Kong Airport Authority
The construction will last until 2024 and financing for the HK$142 billion ($18.3 billion USD) project is comprised of funds from the Government, Airport revenue and a series of new surcharges that passengers are already being assessed if they travel to OR through the airport. First Class and Business Class passengers on long haul flights will pay HK$180 ($23.00 USD) while long haul Economy passengers will pay $HK160 ($20.50 USD). Short haul Economy Class passengers will pay HK$90 ($12.00 USD) while transiting passengers regardless of class will pay HK$70 ($9.00 USD).
The following video provides a simulated look at what the expansion will look like once complete:
Earlier today the German Federal Administrative Court gave its blessing toward the building of a much needed and much debated 3rd runway at Munich Airport.
The court ruled in favor of the airport after hearing arguments from Bundes Naturschutz, a nature conservancy group in Bavaria. The court also dismissed other private complaints filed against the building of the new runway. From what I gather, this was the last major legal hurdle that needed to be cleared ahead of planning the construction.
The runway, which would be built on the north side of the field will run parallel to MUCs other 2 runways and will be a major compliment to the new terminal that is set to open next year.
Iceland’s Bardarbunga Volcano has been making news all week as 1000s of minor earthquakes began rattling the region. On Saturday, the volcano began to ‘officially’ erupt which has prompted Iceland to close a small part of the airspace near the volcano as a precaution. Thus far, the closure has not affected air traffic.
The the closed airspace covers a 100 mile x 140 mile perimeter around the volcano. Iceland also raised their aviation alert to “RED” indicated that they expect a significant eruption which will expel dangerous ash into the atmosphere.
If you recall, back in 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul erupted which affected over 100,000 flights and millions of passengers. That eruption also wreaked havoc with airline profits and aircraft.
If your near term travels involve flying the North Atlantic corridor, basically the route used by Airlines flying between the USA and Europe, you may want to start paying attention to this event and perhaps plan a contingency in the event of an eruption that cripples travel.
If the situation deteriorates, Airlines will begin to allow passengers to rebook or cancel their travel plans without assessing any fees or penalties. I suspect that this event will play itself out in the next few days so be prepared!