Cathay Pacific Inaugurates Hong Kong’s Third Runway

Cathay Pacific officially inaugurated Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKG) third runway on Friday, November 25th. The runway greatly expands the airport’s capacity for cargo and passenger air traffic, allowing it to become an even larger center for air transit in the region. The runway has been in use since July and services an average of 140 daily flights. Due to pandemic restrictions and scheduling conflicts, the official commission was pushed back until yesterday.

Runway commission

The runway commissioning included a ceremony held at the airport. The first flight to land on the officially commissioned runway was a Cathay Pacific Airbus A350. The airplane arrived after a lengthy flight from Perth, Australia. Flight number CX170 from Perth was welcomed with a water salute from the airport fire department.


The new runway has dramatically increased capacity at the airport. The Chief Secretary of the Administration at HKG, Chan Kwok-ki, stated,

“The three runway system will significantly increase the passenger and cargo handling capacity of HKIA,”With the distinct advantages of the strong support from the motherland and our connectivity to the world, Hong Kong will maintain and enhance its status as an international aviation hub.”

Airport capacity

The airport has added the runway intending to expand capacity as demand for air transit has continued to grow steadily over the past decade. When the pandemic hit, air transit levels dropped dramatically at HKG. During this period, many cargo operations at the airport continued, but passenger travel was all but non-existent. However, as COVID-19 numbers have steadily fallen, travel restrictions have eased, allowing more passengers to travel the world via airplane once again.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

While select restrictions remain in place at HKG, the airport is seeing a strong comeback in passenger numbers. Passenger numbers at the airport are expected to reach 60 to 70% of pre-pandemic numbers by the end of 2023. Come 2024; the airport anticipates that passenger numbers will match that of 2019. In the following years, airport executives expect demand to continue to grow, requiring an increase in capacity at the airport. The addition of this new runway is an attempt by the airport to stay ahead of this demand curve.

Project development

Construction began on the new runway in August 2016. The 12,000-foot runway took approximately four years to construct and consumed over 1,600 acres of land. The project is a part of an even larger airport undertaking to expand capacity at terminal 2. Once complete, the airport will have added another concourse, an automated people mover, and a baggage handling system. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2024. The total cost of the project is estimated to reach $18.2 billion.

Uniquely the project has been solely funded by the private sector with no funding from the government. The Chairman of the Airport Authority, Jack So, stated,

“The project was funded from the private market and it doesn’t involve any government money,”This proves that the international financial community, banking sector and funds are confident of Hong Kong and its airport.”

What do you think of this runway commission? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The National News

  • Asia Pacific Airlines, 2020 Loss, COVID-19

    Hong Kong International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    China (Special Administrative Region)

    Fred Lam

    Passenger Count :
    1,196,000 (2021)

    Runways :
    07R/25L – 3,800m (12,467ft) |07L/25R – 3,800m (12,467ft)

    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2

  • Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-367(ER) B-KPM

    Cathay Pacific

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hong Kong International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Augustus Tang

    China (Special Administrative Region)

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