July 07, 2017: It was a record breaking year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) with air traffic figures crossing new highs. During the fiscal year, passenger traffic rose 1.1 per cent to 70.5 million, exceeding the 70-million mark for the first time. Flight movements also increased 0.1 per cent to 410,440, while cargo volume expanded 6.7 per cent to 4.6 million tonnes, securing HKIA as the world’s busiest cargo airport for the seventh consecutive year.
To cope with the future air traffic demand, construction for expanding HKIA into a Three-runway System (3RS) commenced in August 2016. Jack So Chak-kwong, Chairman of Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), said, “We were honoured that amidst his recent short visit to Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping made a stop at our office tower to inspect the progress of the 3RS construction. We are grateful for his expression of the Central Government’s support of our airport’s third runway project and Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub.”
Besides the 3RS, many developments of HKIA turned another page during 2016/17. The enhancement plan for Terminal 1 has commenced, adding new facilities for arriving and departing passengers, a multi-storey carpark, as well as amenities for airport staff. AA also unveiled plans for SKYCITY, a 25-hectare integrated development located next to HKIA that will comprise retail, dining and entertainment facilities, offices and hotels.
The Hong Kong International Aviation Academy (HKIAA) was established during the year to attract and nurture talent for the aviation industry. HKIAA co-operates with airport business partners, as well as local and overseas universities and vocational training institutes to offer a wide range of courses, from on-the-job training to master degree programmes for airport employees, and youth programmes for those exploring a career in the aviation sector.
Further expanding HKIA’s extensive network, 14 new destinations were added in 2016/17, including London Gatwick, New York LaGuardia, Portland, Madrid, Saipan, Ahmedabad (India), Chiang Rai (Thailand), Daegu (South Korea), Manado (Indonesia), Mandalay (Myanmar), Toowoomba (Australia), and Ishigaki, Takamatsu and Yonago (Japan). We also welcomed four new carriers to HKIA, namely Austrian Airlines, Bismillah Airlines, T’way Air and Vietjet Air.
During the year, 2 million passengers used coach and limousine services at HKIA, while 2.6 million travellers used ferry services at SkyPier for trips between HKIA and nine ports in the Pearl River Delta and Macao. With a view to capitalising on the opening of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge, the AA is studying the feasibility of a land-to-air bonded shuttle bus between locations in the PRD and HKIA’s restricted area.
The AA is also deploying automation and mobile technologies to create a smooth, hassle-free passenger experience. Fred Lam, Chief Executive Officer of the AA said, “We are introducing more technology-based self-service facilities, which are increasingly popular. For example, in addition to the self-bag drop service that debuted in 2016, a new smart luggage tag is to be launched in 2017/18. With the smart tag, passengers will receive an alert through the ‘HKG MyFlight’ mobile app shortly before their bags arrive at the carousel at baggage reclaim.”
In 2016/17, the AA began installing approximately 10,000 iBeacon transmitters at HKIA that enable the sending of directions and boarding alerts to passengers’ mobile phones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices via the upgraded “HKG My Flight” mobile app. Several other new features will be added to the app, including airport signage translation and car park booking.
On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling. The AA and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) Accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017. Meanwhile, the airport recorded 2.4 per cent growth in revenue to HK$18.Regarding financial performance, revenue recorded 2.4% growth to HK$ 18,627 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 4 per cent year on year to HK$12,831 million, while profit attributable to the equity shareholder was HK$8,276 million for the 12 months ended March 31, 2017.