Data from Guangdong’s two major airports indicates that their air traffic continued to grow in August, while protests targeting the Hong Kong International Airport had a material impact on its traffic overall – not only that of its biggest carrier, Cathay Pacific. While overall traffic through HKIA dropped 12.4% YoY in August, the worst in more than 10 years, Shenzhen Baoan and Guangzhou Baiyun both saw their traffic rise by almost the same amount.
The three airports are more than 100 km apart and are not yet connected by high-speed railway, so it is not that easy for passengers stranded at one (for whatever reason) to switch to another one. Nevertheless, it seems that the two domestic airports, which do not have nearly as many international flights as HKIA does, appeared to make gains at the same time that Hong Kong was being disrupted.
Here is a report from the Shenzhen Metro: It had revenue of RMB10.94 billion in the first half, with profits of RMB4 billion. It spent RMB15.62 billion on construction, while the extensions of Line 5 and 9 will be ready for operation by the end of this year, and lines 6, 8 and 10 are scheduled for trial operation next year.
It was a good period for property developments, too. The state-owned company has acquired 12 land parcels that can yield up to 4.5 million sqm. These developments, including residential, retail, office and hotels, are located in the major developing districts such as the Qianhai Shekou Free Trade Zone, the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, Futian, Longhua and Longgang. Shenzhen Metro was ranked the city’s second-biggest developer.
Passengers wanting to cross the HZMB between Zhuhai and Hong Kong got a big boost recently with the launch of new point-to-point services. The Zhuhai Public Transportation Group has teamed up with Hong Kong’s Kwoon Chung Bus Holdings Limited to offer a “one ticket multiple destinations” scheme.
Passengers can log onto the WeChat account of Zhuhai Public Transportation and with one click buy bus tickets from Zhuhai’s city center to the Zhuhai port of the HZMB. From there they can transfer to buses heading to different destinations in Hong Kong.
Helicopter services within the GBA are no longer exclusively for high-rollers going to Macau: Shenzhen has introduced flights to Hong Kong as well. The first was run last Friday by an Airbus H135, which took 15 minutes from Shenzhen Baoan International Airport to the Shun Tak Heliport in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district.
Shenzhen Eastern General Aviation Company will run a fleet a high-end helicopters that will expand to 1,000 within the next five years. It will focus on business and leisure travel for those wanting to experience what a “15-minute travel circle” within the GBA is like.
Although the first trip was from the airport, the city government will develop Shekou port to support helicopter services. These will also be used for emergency medical services, tourism, and short-distance logistics. The government says it will build the necessary infrastructure and simplify regulations. The city is also working on a larger low-altitude aerial transport plan as part of its urban mobility masterplan within the city that includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), together with input from Airbus and a number of other companies invested in expanding the drone business. Air taxis are coming.
Shenzhen is going auto. In the next phase of its subway construction, trains will be run on a combination of 5G and AI, enabling autonomous driving. Linked by “smart stations” the entire subway network will be run by algorithms.
The system is being developed by CASCO, a company founded by China Railway Signal and Communication Corporation, headquartered in Shanghai, where it has already been adopted. It is apparently fully comprehensive, covering scheduling anf movement of the trains, cleaning and maintenance, door operations, air conditioning, lighting, and, the all-important one, “malfunction prevention and solutions”. Passenger flows will, of course, be monitored constantly and catered to.
Shenzhen’s subway is in its third phase of construction, which will be completed by next year, with 12 lines in total. The unmanned control system will be adopted in the fourth phase, with the addition of four lines.
On July 10, Foshan will begin running high-speed trains directly to Hong Kong. Similar to the announcement made yesterday about Zhaoqing, the Foshan service to Kowloon will be just one hour and 22 minutes. Second class fare is RMB225. Tickets will be available on trip.com (our recommendation).
It is not actually a new line. All that is happening is journeys previously requiring a change in Guangzhou South will now run direct, i.e., at certain times of day, trains will run all the way to and from Hong Kong.
Guangzhou will add six high-speed railway lines to its network, which will connect to, but are different from, the existing Intercity and Metro lines. According to Guangzhou Transport Planning Research, two are already being constructed and will run between the capital’s CBD area and Nansha, at its southern tip, at speeds of 160 km/h. A third is just started, which will connect to Foshan, also at 160 km/h. The three others, however, are still being planned. They will run northwards and travel at 250 km/h. They are awaiting approval as part of the GBA Intercity Railway Construction Plan.
Zhaoqing is about to get a lot closer to Hong Kong. The most rural of the Greater Bay Area’s nine municipalities inside Guangdong will soon have a direct train running on the High-Speed Railway. It will take only an hour and 20 minutes to the Kowloon West station.
According to the Zhaoqing government, this is what the fast line (G319/320) will take. It will run in the afternoons. A slower train (G6579/6580) will run in the morning and take two hours.
Apparently, more than 200,000 Hong Kong residents originate from Zhaoqing. The city is home to 875 Hong Kong-owned enterprises, which invested RMB673 million there last year, making up 71.3% of Zhaoqing’s total foreign investment.Read more (in Chinese).
Just when you thought the Greater Bay Area couldn’t possibly squeeze in another special zone for the development of artificial intelligence, Guangzhou announces one of its own. Only this one comes with a ferry terminal and is situated right in the middle of the capital city, next to the home of the world’s biggest trade fair.
OK, so it’s not precisely in the middle of the city. Guangzhou is a big place, home to 14 million people and counting. Pazhou, to the southeast of the Haizhu district, is on the other side of the river from Zhujiang New Town and the Guangzhou International Finance Center. But as the city’s master planners describe it, the three form a “golden triangle in Guangzhou’s CBD development”. In any case, the Pazhou Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy Experimental Zone has been approved and construction is under way.
Yang Xiaohui, Pazhou’s party secretary, said the new ferry terminal will be completed by next year’s Autumn session of the Canton Fair (October). Its main advantage will be as a connection option for passengers coming in and out of the Hong Kong International airport, which has no plans to connect anytime soon to the province’s high-speed railway network. An airport journey will take only two hours, port to port, and will offer check-in and entry/exit services.
Nansha is determined to make itself more accessible from Hong Kong. The special economic zone in the south of Guangzhou, which has only one high-speed train arriving directly at its Qingsheng station every day, has just bumped up the number of ferries running to Hong Kong – both to the China Ferry Terminal Tsim Sha Tsui and the HK International Airport.
A total of 12 ferries now ply the route to TST, up from eight, running from 8.30am until last departures around 6.40pm. Ferries to the airport are less frequent, but have also seen two new vessels added. Bookings are here.
Because Nansha is equidistant to TST and Lantau, it takes only about 60 minutes to reach both. The Nansha Passenger Port also provides pre-check-in and baggage direct services. And on the way in, there are now visa-on-arrival self-service machines.