A cross-border coach service linking Hong Kong and Shenzhen Airports and allowing passengers to pick up their boarding pass in Hong Kong would be launched tomorrow.
Shenzhen Vice-Mayor Zhang Siping (center) joins Hong Kong and mainland officials at a ceremony yesterday to mark the opening of a new cross-border bus service linking Kowloon and Shenzhen Airport. [China Daily]
The bus service was seen by the travel and aviation industry as a step forward to closer collaboration between the two airports, which was conceived enhance the competitiveness of both cities.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang said in his Policy Address on October 10 that cooperation between the two airports should be strengthened, and a railway be built to link them up.
Passengers in Hong Kong can reserve their flight seats and obtain their boarding pass at Airport Express Kowloon Station before taking the 75-minute coach trip to Shenzhen Airport via the Shenzhen Bay Port, which will cost HK$90 one-way.
But luggage check-in service wouldn't be available because of security reasons.
Mainlanders can also take the coach from Shenzhen Airport to Hong Kong for 90 yuan.
The service will be available every 30 minutes. Buses will run to Shenzhen between 7:15 am to 7:15 pm and back from 10 am to 9 pm.
Alan Chan, managing director of Chinalink Express Holdings, the provider of the service, said they hoped to increase service frequency to 20 minutes next year and further to 15 minutes the year after next.
Shenzhen is used by mainlanders as a transit hub to Hong Kong. Of the 13.6 million mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong last year, 3 million entered the SAR via Shenzhen Airport.
The airport currently operates 132 routes, of which 102 are domestic, covering about 70 cities of the country. Hong Kong International Airport is connected to about 150 destinations, of which 40 are mainland cities.
"Shenzhen travelers can take the bus to Hong Kong for connection flights to overseas cities, while overseas travelers can also take Hong Kong as a gateway to the mainland," Chan said.
The costs of flying from Shenzhen, which are between 30 and 60 percent cheaper than from the SAR, are attractive to Hong Kong residents, Chan said.
The demand for the coach service would not be affected even after the completion of the railway linking Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports, he added.
Hong Kong Travel Industry Council chairman Ho Pak-ting said the coach service would benefit Hong Kong travelers bound for mainland cities.
But Hong Thai Travel Services Limited deputy manager Daniel Chan said the service might not be attractive to tour groups.
"Taking a round trip to and from the airport will cost HK$180. If that extra cost is factored in, it is not very much cheaper than flying directly from Hong Kong," he said.