|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||2 September 2011|
Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive John Slosar used his keynote speech at the Aerospace Forum Asia today to reiterate the airline's support for the building of a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) as the public consultation period for the proposal comes to an end.
"Hong Kong is about connectivity and the sustainability of the Hong Kong economy and, therefore, the long-term prosperity and wellbeing of Hong Kong people is dependent on us continuing to provide and grow those linkages for the future," he said.
Mr Slosar also pointed out that the development of a third runway at HKIA is the only viable way to ensure the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong as an important international financial, trading and logistics, tourism and professional services hub.
"The rest of the world is not standing still, with new aviation infrastructure being planned in Seoul, Bangkok and Mainland China. If we decide to step out of the race, then the others will pass us," he said.
Mr Slosar said the consultation period had been a robust exercise with many points of view being raised and debated, and then provided an historical context by looking at the issues that were raised in the 1980s when the need for the Hong Kong International Airport was being debated.
"In the mid-1980s and 1990s, questions were raised about the economic benefits of building a new airport, whether it was actually needed or whether Kai Tak could simply continue to operate," he said. "But I think we would all agree that HKIA has been a tremendous success and has underpinned the development of Hong Kong as an aviation and economic powerhouse."
Mr Slosar stressed that the economic and social benefits of the third runway would need to be carefully balanced with environmental, engineering and funding considerations.
"The aviation industry in Hong Kong has benefited from an active debate on the many different points of view which should be considered and built into the final project," he said.
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