Beijing is fully behind Hong Kong taking a leading role as an air hub to help advance China’s ambitious global trade and infrastructure strategy, a top Chinese aviation official told industry leaders on Tuesday.
As part of Hong Kong’s bay area ambition, the city’s airport 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 travellers.
Hong Kong’s role in the bay area, which aims to transform the city and 10 others in the Pearl River Delta into an integrated global economic hub, would be that of a bridge in policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, trade and financing cooperation and cultural exchanges, according to China’s civil aviation regulator.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said Hong Kong would seek air service agreements for permission to launch more commercial flights to countries joining the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s grand plan to open up trade and transport links with Central Asia and Europe.
Hong Kong has signed aviation agreements with 67 countries and jurisdictions, 49 of which fall under the belt and road project.
As one of its first moves, Hong Kong’s airport will set up 13 new upstream check-in facilities by 2025, adding to the 16 already based at ferry terminals, cross-border checkpoints and downtown facilities in bay area cities.
The expansion is part of a wider drive to lure more mainland passengers into using Hong Kong’s airport rather than rivals in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, at the same time boosting aviation links across the region.
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