International business Travellers Song
HKIA - Expanding and Evolving
More than a decade after moving to Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island, the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has become one of the most recognisable air passenger terminals in Asia-Pacific. Two gleaming terminals with a total of 224 retail shops and 70 F&B outlets, as well as efficient and user-friendly services create the epitome of a duty-free city. HKIA also continues to be among the busiest in the region, handling over 46 million passengers last year.
As one of the top global hubs, HKIA connects Hongkong – the centre for international business in Asia – to 150 destinations worldwide, including 40 Mainland Chinese cities. About 90 airlines serve this airport, which operates round the clock. Continuous upgrades have been made to keep the airport on par with shifting aviation and passenger demands, making it one of the most efficiently run air terminals.
North Satellite Concourse
Flying home for Christmas, I vaguely noticed the signages for new boarding gates 501 to 510. The two-storey North Satellite Concourse (NSC) building at Terminal 1 had just opened.
The 10 airbridge-served parking stands at the HK$1 billion (US$128.87 million) facility are designed to accommodate the increasing number of narrow-bodied, single-aisle aircraft landing at HKIA. To date, about one third of the aircraft using the airport are Airbus A320 and Boeing B737, whose average capacity is 150 seats. The building is situated north of T1.
“With the new satellite concourse, less than 10 flights will need to be parked at remote bays every day, compared with the 40 to 50 flights in the past, ” says Howard Eng, executive director for airport operations at Airport Authority Hong Kong. “This means more passengers can embark or disembark their aircraft in a pleasant, weather-proof environment, sparing them the inconvenience of being exposed to hot and rainy weather.” The NSC is expected to handle five million passengers a year initially.
Landing slots at NSC are randomly rotated among various airlines, although an airport spokesperson notes that carriers from Mainland China, which operate smaller planes, are the ones primarily using the new facility.
After the holidays, I went to HKIA and checked out the new concourse.
Passengers whose aircraft are departing from NSC will still have to check in and go through immigration procedures either at T1 or T2. After that, they have to take a shuttle bus from a designated area of T1 to NSC. The shuttle bus service runs between T1 and NSC every four minutes. Likewise, arriving passengers disembarking from NSC will have to take the shuttle bus to T1 and from there, proceed with the usual immigration, customs and baggage claim procedures.