China, Hong Kong to team on Pearl River Delta

China and Hong Kong aviation authorities are too work together to improve airspace management in the Pearl River Delta.

Hong Kong’s director-general of civil aviation (DGCA) Simon Li and his opposite number at the Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB) of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Che Jinjun, met in Shenzhen on May 19 and signed a joint statement on supporting the sustained development of air navigation services and airspace in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, as a further step in setting objectives for the future development of air navigation services and airspace in the region.

Specific contents of the joint statement include:

  • In accordance with the National 13th Five-Year Plan’s goal to construct a cluster of world-class airports in the PRD, both sides will make the utmost effort to help take forward the expansion plans for the five major airports in the region. Among other initiatives, joint efforts will continue to be made to study relevant arrangements to enable the Three-runway System at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to progressively achieve the target runway capacity of 102 air traffic movements per hour.
  • Both sides will actively pursue the State Council’s guiding opinions on deepening co-operation within the Pan-PRD region and optimise airspace structure to gradually enhance the flexibility and efficiency of air navigation services and the use of airspace in the PRD.
  • Seizing the opportunities of the development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (the Bay Area development plan), both sides will define the respective functions and positioning of each airport in the region in accordance with their unique nature and strength, to enhance the transport competitiveness for the whole PRD region and consolidating a more competitive edge in the aviation field.
  • To address the problem of congested airspace and the flight delay issues, both sides will actively study measures to improve the operational environment, such as increasing the capacity of the air routes for the eastern part of the mainland and optimising flow management and co-ordination mechanisms; and strive to improve operational efficiency and the on-time performance of major airports in the region.
  • The country’s Belt and Road Initiative offers enormous development potential for the aviation industry. Both sides will grasp this opportunity to enhance exchanges and co-operation at various levels.
  • Both sides will jointly formulate a phased work plan with objectives for development, which will be implemented step by step to bring about the simultaneous and harmonious development of air navigation services and airspace in the region.

During the meeting, the two sides also exchanged views on actively promoting aviation facilities in the region, including the feasibility of further opening up the low altitude airspace for cross-border helicopter services.

“The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has been proactively promoting exchanges and co-operation on air traffic management in the PRD. The signing of a joint communique will help foster co-operation and partnership further, strengthen synergies, ensure efficient use of the airspace and bring mutual benefits. In future, the CAD will continue to proactively achieve the ultimate target of implementing the Pearl River Delta Region Air Traffic Management Planning and Implementation Plan via the Tripartite Working Group formed by the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, push forward airspace enhancement measures to cope with the sustained growth of air traffic in the region, and meet the future development needs of all airports in the region,” Li said.

Che said that the ATMB of the CAAC and the CAD have long maintained a close partnership on various civil aviation-related issues. In a spirit of collaborative development for the common good, the ATMB of the CAAC will continue to strongly support the airspace co-ordination work for the development of a new runway at the HKIA to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international transport centre and to reinforce the HKIA as an international aviation hub.

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