The Airport Authority has reportedly yielded to pressure from contractors to pay them an additional HK$8 billion in order make sure the third runway project is completed on time.
The Ming Pao newspaper said the contractors for the reclamation work involved had warned that because of a shortage of marine sand, the HK$141 billion project could be delayed by up to two years, to 2026.
They first demanded HK$16.8 billion, but later halved the amount, while the authority agreed to make a supplemental agreement "to recover delays in reclamation works" after considering other options, the newspaper said.
The HK$8 billion being handed over is from a contingency fund.
Airport officials had admitted last year that the shortage of filling materials had led to a 18-week delay.
Ambrose Linn, the chief executive of Hong Kong Construction Materials Association, said he expects the supply of marine sand will continue to be tight and that prices have already increased by around 20 percent from last year.
He said that some suppliers are already sourcing marine sand from Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Cambodia and Malaysia, but noted that some governments have started imposing export restrictions on marine sand.
Linn also told RTHK's Timmy Sung that the increase in marine sand prices won't have a significant impact on local construction, but said it would be bad news for anyone carrying out reclamation projects.
The Airport Authority said 2024 remains its target for the commissioning of the third runway, within the budget of HK$141.5 billion.
It said along with the reclamation contractor, it has secured a stable supply of fill materials for the reclamation work.