Faster security clearance at HK airport - if you pay for it

HONG KONG • Clearing security at Hong Kong International Airport will become speedier from September - but only if you pay for it.

The airport will launch a special security channel, and the cost of faster clearance will be borne by airlines, which are likely to pass it on to passengers willing to pay more for speed, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The service will also be available to those with disabilities, expecting mothers and senior citizens, said Hong Kong-based SCMP, quoting the airport authority.

The cost of providing the service to this group of passengers will be covered by fees collected by airlines from passengers who choose the fast-track option.

Citing industry sources, the paper said the airport will charge airlines HK$20 (S$3.40) a passenger for those who use the express service.

Currently, passengers who pass through the airport pay a security charge of HK$45 per person, according to SCMP.

During the airport's 2016/17 financial year, 99 per cent of departing passengers queued at screening channels for 4.5 minutes or less under normal circumstances.

It is not clear how much faster the new service will be in practice, given the possibility of more security checks on electronic devices for United States-bound flights, said SCMP.

A test run of the new service will be conducted later this month, with Cathay Pacific Airways, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines taking part, reported the paper.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Faster security clearance at HK airport - if you pay for it'. Print Edition | Subscribe