Work on the HK$141.5 billion ($18.1 billion) upgrade of Hong Kong International Airport progressed steadily “on all fronts” during the pandemic and the government is still targeting completion in 2024, the city’s Transport and Logistics Bureau said.

“The new third runway has already been commissioned in November 2022 as scheduled, while the reconfiguration of the center runway is underway as planned,” Lam Sai-hung, the secretary for Transport and Logistics, said in a letter addressed to Bloomberg News.

While the target is to complete the three runway system passenger facilities in 2024, the Airport Authority Hong Kong “will take into account the actual passenger demand in rolling out the commissioning of passenger facilities, such as the expanded T2 and T2 Concourse,” Lam added.

Bloomberg reported last week that Hong Kong’s airport expansion will likely be delayed until at least the end of 2025, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Traffic at HKIA, once one of the busiest airports in the world by international passenger traffic, has recovered to about 80% of pre-pandemic levels and is expected to fully recover by the end of 2024. That’s the hope for another of Asia’s main aviation hubs, with Singapore’s transport ministry saying Tuesday that Changi Airport’s passenger volumes should also reach pre-Covid levels some time this year.

Hong Kong’s airport was approaching full capacity, with 71.5 million travelers in 2019, by the time Covid hit. In 2023, Changi Airport handled 58.9 million passengers, or about 86% of the traffic it recorded in 2019.