Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport will open a new 17 billion yuan (US$2.7 billion) terminal building next month, which according to Chinese media, will step up ongoing rivalry with Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport and forms part of the city’s plans to be the main air hub in the Pearl River Delta.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) said that the five major airports in the Pearl River Delta – Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai – all within 150km (93 miles) of each other, are
all striving to expand.
Guangzhou plans to add a fourth and a fifth runway by 2025 and Shenzhen has plans in place for a third. Hong Kong aims to open a third runway by 2023 to boost passenger and cargo capacity.
Another new 35 billion yuan Pearl River Delta regional airport is designed to handle 30 million passengers a year in Foshan near Guangzhou in the coming years.
A report in the Guangzhou Daily said that the terminal will handle about 45 million passengers a year in 2020 and 100 million by 2025.
Guangzhou airport will also handle 3.5 million tonnes of cargo and mail by 2025, marking a big step in its goal of becoming a world-class aviation hub with over 220 international air routes, according to its operator.
The SCMP report quoted the vice-president of the Guangdong-based South Nongovernmental Think Tank, Peng Peng, as saying that “Hong Kong’s role as an international air hub was once highly valued by Guangdong, which saw the city as its gateway to the outside world, but the provincial authorities will no longer carefully consider Hong Kong‘s benefits and feelings, following the change of the political and economic climate in Hong Kong and Beijing.
“Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will have a hand-to-hand fight in economic development in the coming years. Competition among airports is part of that fight.”
Nol van Fenema
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