Hong Kong's airport construction fee (ACF) will benefit Hong Kongers over the long term, amid a fierce battle between regional transit hubs, one aviation analyst says.
The ACF, which kicked in on August 1, adding up to 180 Hong Kong dollars ($23.20) to every ticket for flights departing Hong Kong International Airport, was designed to help pay for the airport's third runway and other improvements. Construction of the third runway also began on August 1, with completion scheduled for 2024, at a cost of HK$136 billion ($17.5 billion).
There has been some grumbling over the ticket surcharge, and even a failed attempt to win a judicial review, but Centre for Aviation senior analyst Will Horton told CNBC that it was vital Hong Kong retained its status as a major aviation hub, amid tough competition from other Asian destinations.
"This isn't the time to be telling passengers, hey, instead of taking Cathay from Manila to North America or Taipei to Australia, take ANA through Tokyo or take EVA through Taipei," Horton said. "We need to reinforce the Hong Kong hub, double down and make sure it remains competitive."