Beijing backs HK for lead in aviation

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) says Hong Kong is a “very important location” for both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area. Moreover, it is “fully behind Hong Kong taking a leading role as an air hub to help advance China’s ambitious global trade and infrastructure strategy,” the SCMP reported.

According to the SCMP, the CAAC’s deputy administrator, Dong Zhiyi, made the comment at the Aviation Silk Road International Conference currently taking place in Hong Kong. It follows an announcement yesterday by the Hong Kong International Airport’s chief, at the same conference, that HKIA aims to nearly double the number of remote check-in and bag-drop facilities in mainland cities to 29 over the next six years, to capture a greater share of cross-border air travel.

Hong Kong’s Finance Secretary, Paul Chan, was also in cheerleading mode for the city at the conference, saying that Hong Kong aims to keep its edge as a global aviation hub with its three-runway airport expansion project and through the “aerotropolis” initiative linking adjacent cities. Former Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, meanwhile, called for “more pilots and more routes” from the HKIA.

Such suggestions must have been music to the ears of Cathay Pacific Airways, which offered its own suggestions at the conference, including the need for relaxed boundary controls to allow the best use of existing infrastructure and to open up more airspace for civil aviation.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the airline was the subject of a glowing endorsement by the SCMP yesterday in an editorial, titled, “Hopes of Hong Kong also ride with Cathay Pacific”.