Hong Kong International Airport is an award winning shining star in the world of large international airports. The airport is in its 20th year of operations and is regarded as one of the world’s most modern aviation facilities. Terminal buildings are modern and well kept. Technology abounds with downloadable apps that may be used for everything including flight information, maps for guidance, terminal walking experiences, baggage claim notification, restaurant suggestions, shopping information, and ground transportation. Access is easy via efficient roadways, a high-speed express train to central Hong Kong, ferries to destinations in the Pearl River Delta, ferry service to Macau, and dedicated bus service to more than 150 stations. The airport has placed great emphasis on creating a pleasant passenger experience.
Construction of Hong Kong International began in 1991. The goal was to replace the historic, capacity constrained, and well used Kai Tak Airport. Kai Tak Airport served as Hong Kong’s principal international airport from 1930 to 1998. The airport was close to the urban center, however, it only had one runway and limited aircraft standing space. It was placed on reclaimed land in Kowloon Bay and had no room for expansion. Therefore, the decision to create a new, larger, and expandable airport resulted in a major development project on the island of Chek Lap Kok. Chek Lap Kok was an island adjacent to Lantau Island with rolling hills and lush green vegetation. The island was dramatically leveled to accommodate today’s runways, terminals, hotels, maintenance buildings, and office buildings. Hong Kong International Airport opened 6 July 1998.
Roughly every major airline in the world has Hong Kong International on their route map. The total count of airlines exceeds 100 and there are over 1,100 flights daily. Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, and Hong Kong Express have established the airport as their major hubs. Other major regional carriers with large amounts of service include Air China, ANA, China, China Eastern, China Southern, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Spring, Thai, and Xiamen. Cargo airlines include Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, DHL Aviation, FEDEX, KLM Cargo, UPS, and Yangtze River Express.
Interesting numbers for the airport follow (based on 2017 statistics):
• Nonstop destinations served – 220
• Daily flights – over 1,100
• Annual air traffic movements – over 420,000 (163,000 in 1998)
• Passengers handled – approximately 73 million (28 million in 1998)
• Cargo handled – over 5 million tons (1.65 million tons in 1998)
• Workforce at the airport – approximately 73,000 individuals
• Runways - 2
• Passenger aircraft gates/stands – 106 in two terminals, 12 served via bus
• Restaurants – over 320
• Shops – over 100
The Airport Authority of Hong Kong is constantly planning improvements for the future to keep Hong Kong International Airport at its best. Current projects include the addition of a third runway and additional midfield concourses with additional gates. Construction of the third runway and additional concourses are currently progressing. The third runway will sit on land that is being filled in and built up from the sea. The anticipated completion date is 2024.
Hong Kong International Airport provides one of the best passenger experiences. One of the airport authority top priorities is to make sure that everything operates properly. Technology items such as the HKG My Flight mobile app, the self bag-drop system, iCUSS (moveable check-in kiosks which are deployed during heavy traffic times), MyTAG (part of the HKG My Flight app which alerts when a passenger’s checked bag arrives on the reclaim carousel), and enhanced retail offerings keep the passenger experience enjoyable.