Activists staged last-ditch protest at airport before work began on third runway on Monday

Hong Kong Airport

Work officially began on the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday, despite last-ditch attempts by environmental groups to challenge the project.

The HK$141.5 billion runway will take eight years to build and will be funded by additional fees paid by passengers departing from Hong Kong. The additional cost per passenger will vary dependent on distance and class of travel. Economy class passengers will pay HK$90 on short-haul and $160 on long-haul flights, while first and business class passengers will pay HK$160 and HK$180 respectively. Passengers transiting via Hong Kong will pay HK$70.

Airport Authority chief executive Fred Lam Tin-fuk has said that the additional charges could continue until 2031.

On Saturday, protesters gathered at the airport with banners and a model of a blood-spattered Chinese white dolphin. Marching through the arrivals hall, they chanted “shame on the Airport Authority” and “white elephant”.

Led by activist groups Green Sense and the Airport Development Concern Network, the protesters have accused the Airport Authority of failing to properly assess the impact of the 650-hectare reclamation project on Lantau’s dolphin population, which is believed to now consist of just 41 mammals.

They have also criticised the Authority’s decision to begin work without waiting for the result of a judicial challenge to the project which was heard in July.

Image: Wikipedia

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