|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||29 December 2011|
Cathay Pacific Airways welcomes the Hong Kong Airport Authority's recommendation to the Government to adopt the three-runway option as the future development blueprint for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for planning purposes.
The airline is also encouraged by the result of the independent Hong Kong University survey which shows that 73% of the 24,242 respondents prefer the three-runway option and 80% agree or strongly agree that the Airport Authority should make a decision urgently on HKIA's future expansion plans.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar said: "We firmly believe the third runway is of critical importance to the sustainability of the Hong Kong economy and, therefore, to the long-term prosperity and well-being of Hong Kong people. Connectivity with the rest of the world has made Hong Kong what it is today so we must be clear on how we can maintain and grow these links for our future.
"A third runway is the only viable option to ensure the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong as an important international financial centre, trading and logistics hub, tourism destination, and professional services capital.
"Giving the increasing competition from other airports, we need to invest on the back of the spectacular success of our fantastic aviation hub by growing it."
Cathay Pacific firmly believes that it is in Hong Kong's best interests to take a long-term view to ensure that HKIA continues to thrive. The airline is currently making significant investments to underscore its commitment to the home hub in Hong Kong, including more than 90 new aircraft on order for delivery up to the end of the decade with a list price of some HK$180 billion, a HK$5.5 billion air cargo terminal that is scheduled to open in 2013, and more than $1 billion on new products in the air and on the ground to give more people a reason to fly to and through Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific also acknowledges the concern of the environmental impact in building the third runway among the survey respondents. The airline fully supports and actively implements various initiatives to fulfil the IATA's climate change commitments íV an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year to 2020, aviation carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and a reduction in net CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.
"We welcome the Airport Authority's recommendation to proceed with the statutory Environmental Impact assessment process and the preparation of associated design details," said Mr Slosar. "We are confident that the economic and social benefits of the third runway will be carefully balanced with environmental, engineering and funding considerations."
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