Beijing’s Hadid-designed $63bn airport opens

The existing Capital International Airport in Beijing’s northeas has capacity constraints that often cause flight delays. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 September 2019

Beijing’s Hadid-designed $63bn airport opens

  • New hub has four runaways, is expected to handle up to 72 million people a year by 2025

BEIJING: Beijing’s new multi-billion dollar airport, Daxing International, was formally declared open by President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, days ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The 450 billion yuan ($63 billion) project, completed in less than five years, will give a boost to infrastructure growth, flagging amid the biggest economic slowdown in decades, as China and the US remain locked in a trade war.

The airport was hailed as “a new powerful source of national development” at a ceremony overseen by Xi in which top government officials, including He Lifeng, the head of state planning and vice premier, Han Zheng, participated.

The phoenix-shaped airport, abbreviated as PKX, is located in Beijing’s south and will help ease pressure on the existing Capital International Airport in the city’s northeast, where capacity constraints often cause flight delays.

Designed by the firm of Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who died in 2016, the new airport boasts four runaways and is expected to handle up to 72 million passengers a year by 2025, eventually reaching 100 million.

China aims to build Daxing, which is expected to become one of the world’s busiest airports, into a global aviation hub, as the country is forecast to overtake the US as the world’s largest aviation market by 2022.

Rising out of farmland, Daxing airport is about 46 kilometers away from Tiananmen Square, almost twice the distance from Capital airport to central Beijing.

It will also accommodate passengers from the neighboring areas of Hebei and Tianjin, linked by a sprawling network of high-speed and inter-city trains, metros and public buses.

An express train from the airport will take about 20 minutes to reach the south of Beijing.

China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines are the main airlines at Daxing, while about 50 foreign airlines, including British Airways and Finnair , plan to move all or part of their operations in the next few quarters.

Flag carrier Air China won 10 percent of the capacity at Daxing.

Against an initial plan for China Southern and China Eastern to move all operations to the new airport, with each getting 40 percent of its capacity, China Eastern has retained its highly profitable Beijing-Shanghai route out of the old airport.

The relocation of all airlines is set to be completed by winter 2021.


UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

Updated 11 November 2019

UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

  • Hong Kong regulator’s investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank
  • In March, the Securities and Futures Commission banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year

HONG KONG: Swiss bank UBS was fined HK$400 million ($51.09 million) by Hong Kong’s securities regulator for overcharging up to 5,000 clients for nearly a decade, the watchdog said on Monday.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said in a statement that an investigation found UBS had overcharged clients on ‘post-trade spread increases’ and charges in excess of standard disclosures and rates between 2008 and 2017.
THE SFC said the investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank. UBS had failed to disclose conflicts of interests and had overcharged some clients in ‘opaque’ trades, it said.
The overcharging affected 5000 Hong Kong managed client accounts in about 28,700 transactions, it said.
UBS has also agreed to repay the clients HK$200 million, the SFC said.
The regulator said the over-charging occurred in the bank’s wealth management division on bond and structured notes transactions.
UBS was found to have increased the spread charged after the execution of a trade without the clients’ knowledge, it said.
In the statement, the SFC said UBS was also found to have falsified some account statements which were issued to financial intermediaries who were authorized to trade for the clients to “conceal the overcharges.”
UBS said the issues were ‘self-reported’ to the SFC and the results found were against the bank’s standard practice.
“The relevant conduct predominantly relates to limit orders of certain debt securities and structured note transactions, which account for a very small percentage of the bank’s order processing system,” the bank said in a statement.
SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said while each “overcharge represented a fraction of each trade” the bank’s “misconduct involved decisions and a pervasive abuse of trust resulting in significant additional revenue for UBS to which it was not entitled.”
In March, the SFC banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year after it found the bank, and some of its rivals, had failed to carry out sufficient due diligence on a number of deals.
UBS was fined HK$375 million while Morgan Stanley was fined HK$224 million, Merrill Lynch HK$128 million and Standard Chartered (StanChart) HK$59.7 million, all for failures when sponsoring, or leading, public market floats.