Hong Kong International Airport

Categories: AirportHong Kong


Hong Kong International Airport is among the biggest civil engineering projects and incredible airport on the planet. Starts it serving function in July 1998 and adheres to four serving purposes which are Safety, Operational Performance, Client Benefit and Environment leads them to almost 50 times acknowledgment of world’s best airport. HKIA was previously named as Chek Lap Kok Airport.It was built by land improvement at the island of Chek Lap Kok and as the replacement for old Hong Kong airport, Kai Tak Airport.

The building and construction of HKIA was not about the airport solely however the roadways, bridge, tunnel and bridge links to the airport likewise. Prior to this task, studies had been performed by Public Functions department and Hong Kong Civil Aviation. Their goals were to determine a brand-new ideal airport site and discovered that airport away from busy city, the flight course will be routed over the South China Sea rather of the urban location, thus make it possible for the operation of numerous runway at day and night.

In order to decrease the sound pollution and disruption to the citizens, the airport was ultimately developed on a big artificial land formed in between the Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau islands, reclaiming 9.38 km ² of the nearby seabed and this job was believed to be the most pricey airport project. The airport includes 2 runways and terminals but in order to allocate more demands of passengers and increase the runway capability for long term advantages, 3rd runway construction procedure is currently in progress.

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The well-planned HKIA is definitely a great example of sustainable building product and well-equipped by great deal of centers such as Hong Kong Organisation Aviation Centre, Intermodal transportation hub, Aircraft upkeep services, Airport based ground services and Luggage and freight centers.

Design :

Hong Kong International Airport is one of the most important airports in the world. For the design part, the design of the airport gave a great contribution to the development of sustainable infrastructure. Since the airport has major parts, for examples terminal 1, terminal 2, concourse and others buildings etc, each of the design of the part takes count in making the airport sustainable. In this case study, we will mainly talk about the terminals and runway of the Hong Kong Airport, which is the most important part in explaining the sustainable infrastructure. There are currently 2 terminals for the Hong Kong International Airport, which are terminal 1 and terminal 2. Terminal 1 is known as the third largest terminal in the world, which covers an area of 846000 m2. For terminal 2, it covers an area of 140000m2 and a SkyPlaza in it which offers the retail stores and entertainments to the passengers.

It is good to know that the whole wonderful masterpiece is designed by the Foster and Partners. But for the terminal 2, is it designed by the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architecture firm. First of all, we will discuss about the design of the terminal. For the two terminals, both of them are designed and have been taken consideration for the people or passengers who need special requirement. The low-kerb drop-off areas are designed for the specials needs passengers. To take care of the passengers, the Arrivals Halls and The Departures Halls have only 1 level difference and there are lifts, escalators and ramps to help them access to these levels. For the ramp, it is specially made with a gradient of 1/20 to make the movement of the wheelchair passenger easier. Besides, inside the terminal, there are also shuttle trains that make the special needs passengers’ life easier. Apart of these, the roofs of the terminal are designed to let the skylights during the daylight to penetrate into the airport.

This move is to ensure that the artificial lights can be reduced so that the electricity can be saved, and thus it is more environmental friendly which then links to sustainable design. During the day light, to let the skylights enter the terminal through the roofs, the roofs are design to occupy around 5% of the roof area, which the roof itself was designed to be fabricated onsite in curved 36m2. Besides, the walls of the terminal are constructed transparent so that the passengers feel that they are really in the airports and can enjoy the departure and taking off of the aircrafts.

In my own words, the aim of the Hong Kong International Airport is to serve the passengers and their luggage safely and quickly. To achieve it, a good airport terminal design is needed. As for the runway designs, Hong Kong International Airport has now two runways to handle the capacity of the aircrafts. In order to improve the coping of the capacity and the management of the aircrafts, two options have been made to the public. The 1st option is maintaining the existing 2-runways systems. With this, it can only cope with a maximum capacity of 420,000 flight movements per year. With this option, the runway capacity of the airport will reach its maximum state at year 2022.

Figure 1 Plan view of the 2-runway system

For option 2, they are planning to expand the runway into a 3-runway system. With this system, they need to reclaim more land to do the expansion and thus the cost of construction will be high. However the maximum capacity of flight movements after the expansion is 620,000. With this system, the maximum runway capacity will be 2030 or beyond it. Thus, at last the Hong Kong Government used this option 2 as the plan since it will be a long-term advantage to the people and the economy of Hong Kong and worldwide. By the way, to cope with this option, few problems like the environmental impact on the nature and air should be taken count.


1. Fosterandpartners.com (1992) Foster + Partners. [online] Available at: http://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/0639/default.aspx [Accessed: 20 Dec 2012]. 2. Hongkongairport.com (2009) Passenger Guide – Arrivals – Terminal Design – Hong Kong International Airport. [online] Available at: http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/passenger/arrival/t1/special-needs-access/passenger-terminals.html [Accessed: 20 Dec 2012]. 3. Seele.com (1997) Structure · seele. [online] Available at: http://www.seele.com/structure-en/chek-lap-kok-hongkong-airport-2.html [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012]. 4. HENRY, J. et al. (1957) DISCUSSION ON AIRPORT PAPER NO. 35: THE PLANNING AND DESIGN OF THE NEW HONG KONG AIRPORT. ICE Proceedings, 7 (2), p. 305 –325. Available at: http://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/docserver/fulltext/iicep.1957.2568.pdf?expires=1356064350&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=F2752E4638D57FEF9718862138A3555B [Accessed: 19 December 2012]. 5. Unknown. (2011) HKIA – The Best Airport in The World. Building Journal Hong Kong, (August 2011), Available at: http://www.building.com.hk/feature/2011_0922airport1.pdf [Accessed: 19 December 2012]. 6. Unknown. (2005) ANALYSIS OF AIRPORT ACCESS MODE CHOICE: A CASE STUDY IN HONG KONG. Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, 6 p.708 – 723. Available at: http://www.easts.info/on-line/journal_06/708.pdf [Accessed: 18 December 2012].

Construction Stage and Process :

The map of Hong Kong International Airport
Construction of Hong Kong new international airport
1. Land Reclamation
2. Construction of immersed tunnel
3. Construction of highways
4. Construction of Tsing-Ma Bridge

Land Reclamation

Hong Kong international airport is formed by combining two small islands, Chep Lap Kok and Lam Chau into one big artificial island. The mountain of the two small islands were blasted .Giant earth mover was used to demolish the landscape, tons of rubbles is then recycled as filled to turn the two small islands to one large one. Before that could be happened, large underwater dredger used to clean the seafloor. It acts like a giant vacuum cleaner by removing the layer of soft mud 40ft thick to expose a stable rock below. The removing layer of sand is then released from the dredger to fill up followed by the pulverize remained of the island mountain.

The underwater dredger splashing the removing layer sand from seafloor

Immersed tube

Separate tunnel sections made up of mammoth concrete and steel section were manufactured at the harbor side quary. When the section was completed, the two ends of the section are sealed with bulkhead to allow the section to float. Then, the builder floated the quarry .Each floated segment is then towed to the location, once in position, the sealed is broken causing it to sink into final location. The segments under the harbor is then pulled together by powerful hydraulic jack and created the water tight sealed.

The floating sections at the harbor side quary and been towed out from the quary

The seals are broken and sinking into water

Segment is pulled by hydraulic jack

Box-section beam and girder type segment launcher

Kwai-Chung expressway (Route 3)

Kwai-Chung expressway are linked from Cheung Ching Tunnel ( 3-lane twin tube tunnel) to the Tsing-Ma bridge through an open expressway. It was extremely difficult to build the expressway due to it was constructed above the busy lane of Kwai-Chung Road which had to remain open throughout the construction period. In constructing the expressway, box-section beam and girder type segment launched had been used .This method required lesser ground space and can maintain the operation of the road below the construction.

The North Lantau Expressway from Hong Kong international airport to Tsing Ma bridge

North Lantau Expressway

North Lantau expressway was constructed to link the hong kong international airport to the Tsing ma bridge. The highway accommodates a dual three-lane highway and high speed airport railway. Due to its alignment follow the uneven northen shoreline, the expressway got to expand along the shoreline. Approximate 75% of the expressway’s route lies on reclaimed land and 9.5km of rubble mound seawall has to be built. Most of the land reclamation was marine sourced and is compacted by vibroflotation techniques.

Tsing-Ma bridge design
Tsing Ma bridge

Tsing Ma bridge is built to connect from the airport to the city of Hong Kong which is part of the Lantau link. It is one of the largest double deck suspension bridge in the world. Due to one of the most frequent destructive force the typhoon in Hong Kong. The bridge is stiffening by adding another deck below the top deck. Below the mainroad deck, two extra traffic lanes and railway were added.

The Tsing Ma Bridge was first built with two bridge tower, one at Tsing Yi side another one at man-made island Ma Wan side. The towers are founded shallow on bedrock with two-legged trusses at interval and is contrcuted with high-strength concrete of 100Mpa strength. The suspension cable is pulled by large gravity anchorages at both ends of the bridge.

They are huge concrete structure seated on bedrock on the landside of Tsing Yi and Ma Wan. The Cable is installed by aerial spinning process which involves drawing wire from a constant- tension supply and pulling the wires from one anchorage to another. Installing the huge bridge deck was the most dangerous part of the job. The steelwork for the deck structure was fabricated in Japan and Britain. Each prefabricated section were brought to the site by barge and hoisted vertically from the barge of water to the position by a pair of strand jack gantries.


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2. Enggpedia.com (1991) Hong Kong International Airport – Bridge, Foundation, Tunnels & Land Reclamation. [online] Available at: http://www.enggpedia.com/civil-engineering-encyclopedia/megastructures/hong-kong-airport [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

3. English.stec.net (1960) Development of Immersed Tube Techniques in Hong Kong-English.stec.net. [online] Available at: http://english.stec.net/english/english_detail.asp?id=761 [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

4. Google Books (n.d.) Site Preparation for the New Hong Kong International Airport. [online] Available at: http://books.google.com.my/books?hl=en&lr&id=NVlGrr9WOp4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Hong+kong+international+airport+EIA&ots=KrY_JsNj4l&sig=Yjq9LoKQ5Nv76GzYGRxH-X3bJAk#v=onepage&q=Hong%20kong%20international%20airport%20EIA&f=false [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

5. Unknown. (2012) [online] Available at: • http://www.mottmac.com.cn/projects/transport/northlantauexpressway/?lang=en-GB [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

6. Unknown. (2012) [online] Available at: • http://www.hyd.gov.hk/eng/public/publications/factsheet/doc/e_tsing_ma_bridge.pdf [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

7. Wdf.org (1993) Global Super Projects Conference. [online] Available at: http://www.wdf.org/gspc/virtual2001/html/RoblinNg/gspc-r3.htm [Accessed: 21 Dec 2012].

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Hong Kong International Airport. (2016, Dec 21). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/hong-kong-international-airport-essay

Hong Kong International Airport
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