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Hong Kong Puts Airport Bidders on Hold Again

April 05, 1993|From Bloomberg Business News

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government has delayed for a fourth time its decision on a reclamation contract that is a key part of the territory's controversial airport project.

The contract, to reclaim 21 hectares of the Hong Kong harbor along the Central and Wanchai waterfront, was to have been awarded at the end of December.

Disputes between Britain and China over political reform and financing for the airport have forced the government to delay choosing a contractor.

The deadline was extended to Feb. 1, then March 8, then April 6. The government said over the weekend that the two lowest bidders have agreed to extend their offers until July 5.

The reclaimed land will be used for the terminus of a railway intended to link the future airport, at the remote western edge of the territory, with Hong Kong's more populous areas. The site will also permit Hong Kong's central business district to expand.

The government statement said commitment to the airport and railway projects is undiminished. "This extension of the tender validity period is to give the government more time to consider its options on the reclamation, in line with its step-by-step approach to decisions on the airport core program," it said.

The two competitors for the contract were not identified.

The reclamation is expected to cost about $244 million in March, 1991, dollars, according to Hong Kong government figures.

The airport is one of the world's largest infrastructure projects.

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