2003

- West Kowloon Heliport commences full operations, (7 December 2003)
- CAD Conducts Annual Search and Rescue Exercise, (27 November 2003)
- Hong Kong to Host International Air Traffic Controllers Conference 2004, (16 November 2003)
- Airlines offer more passenger and cargo services, (26 October 2003)
- LegCo approves increase in air passenger departure tax to $120, (8 October 2003)
- DGCA chairs major international air navigation conference, (28 September 2003)
- Transit passengers using cross-boundary ferry service exempted from airport departure, (27 September 2003)
- Preliminary Report on GFS Helicopter Accident Released, (25 September 2003)
- Air traffic surge expected during Golden Week , (21 September 2003)
- Hong Kong to host regional civil aviation conference in November 2004, (12 September 2003)
- Security Bureau responds to media enquiries, (29 August 2003)
- French aviation experts arrive to help with helicopter crash investigation, (29 August 2003)
- Screening of all hold baggage at airport boosts public confidence in air travel, (28 August 2003)
- SCS writes to all colleagues, (27 August 2003)
- CAD will conduct an investigation into a GFS helicopter accident to determine the asual actors, (27 August 2003)
- SCS offers deepest condolences to GFS crew members' families, (27 August 2003)
- S for S expresses condolences to family members of two GFS crew members, (27 August 2003)
- GFS expresses condolences to families of two deceased crew members, (27 August 2003) Web BroadcastEnglish (Open with new window)
- Statement by CE, (27 August 2003)
- Helicopter crash roundup, (27 August 2003)
- GFS helicopter fails to respond to base, (27 August 2003)
- Inspector's Investigation Conducted into the Cause of Aircraft Accident, (1 August 2003)
- CAD Investigates an Inflight Incident due to Air Turbulence, (18 July 2003)
- HK Passes ICAO's Airport Anti-SARS Measures Evaluation with Flying Colours, (9 July 2003)
- CAD Grants Approval to First Hong Kong-Based Regional Jet Operator , (27 June 2003)
- International Civil Aviation Organization to Evaluate Airport Anti-SARS Measures, (27 June 2003)
- Aircraft Not a High Risk Environment for Virus Transmission , (10 May 2003)
- CAD to Grant Certificate of Registration to New Type of Executive Jet , (26 February 2003)
- Safe Carriage of Dangerous Goods & Restricted Articles by Air, (24 January 2003)
- Air Traffic in Hong Kong Recovers to or Even Exceeds the Pre-911 Level, (8 January 2003)
- Flight Movements to Break Record in Lunar New Year, (7 January 2003)


West Kowloon Heliport commences full operations

7 December 2003

The new West Kowloon Heliport, located at the southern tip of the West Kowloon Reclamation, is now available for domestic helicopter services, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said today (December 7).

To facilitate the continuous development of commercial helicopter services following the closure of the Central Heliport, the Government has made this site at the West Kowloon Reclamation available as a temporary domestic heliport. Efforts to identify suitable sites for the development of a permanent domestic heliport continue.

Helicopters Hong Kong Limited was awarded development and management rights for the West Kowloon Heliport through an open tender exercise conducted earlier in the year. The heliport will initially be available up to the end of 2005.

Occupying an area of about 7,910 square metres, the West Kowloon Heliport comprises one landing/take-off pad and three parking pads. It can accommodate both single and twin-engine helicopters up to a maximum take-off weight of 5,500 kilograms and an overall length/width of 16 metres.

At present, domestic helicopter services in Hong Kong are mainly provided by two commercial operators - Helicopters Hong Kong Limited and Heliservices (Hong Kong) Limited.

In 2002/03, a total of 7,264 domestic commercial helicopter movements carrying 20,818 passengers were recorded at the Central Heliport.

"It has been the Government's long standing policy to facilitate the development of commercial helicopter services," the CAD spokesman said.

"It is believed that the development of domestic helicopter services will enhance Hong Kong's role as a regional and international aviation center. It will also help in promoting Hong Kong as a tourist destination, enriching visitors' travel experience and enhancing Hong Kong's attractiveness," he said.

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CAD Conducts Annual Search and Rescue Exercise

27 November 2003

The Hong Kong Garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and various government departments joined hands to display their Search and Rescue (SAR) capability during a short range SAR demonstration today (November 27).

The event was organised by the Civil Aviation Department and took place at Tung O Wan of Lamma Island .

"The demonstration was part of an annual search and rescue exercise (SAREX) to provide continuation training and familarisation in SAR technique for SAR qualified air traffic controllers, aircrew and other units likely to be involved in such operations. A total of 12 units participate in the SAREX this year,?a spokesman for the Department said.

Today's exercise involved a joint mountain rescue demonstration by the Government Flying Service (GFS) and the Civil Aid Service (CAS) at the hillside of Tung O Wan, followed by a deck winching demonstration of a simulated survivor by a Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L2 helicopter from GFS.  A sea SAR demonstration by the diving unit from the Fire Services Department (FSD) followed immediately.  The exercise ended with an aerial search demonstration by a Z9 helicopter from PLA.

The demonstration was observed by more than 100 SAR experts.  They included representatives from the Mainland, Macau , the United States , Malaysia , Singapore , Japan , Korea , Thailand , Vietnam , Combodia , Mongolia , India and local observers from the Airport Authority Hong Kong, CAS, FSD, Marine Police, Marine Department and a number of airlines.

Before the activation of this short range demonstration, the SAR aircraft involved in this year's SAREX were on display at the Hong Kong International Airport yesterday (November 26).  They included two C130 aircraft from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the United States Air Force (USAF), as well as a Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L2 helicopter, a Eurocopter EC155 B1 helicopter and a Jetstream J41 aircraft, all from GFS.  Also on display were the emergency facilities of the Airport Fire Contingent (AFC).

"As part of the annual event, a long range SAR exercise will be held tomorrow (November 28) to test the alerting procedures, coordination and communication facilities of the various participants.

"It will be activated this evening, simulating the scenario where an aircraft encounters an engine fire and ditches in distress about 80 nautical miles to the southwest of Hong Kong .  A PLA patrol vessel will be dispatched to the area tomorrow morning to search and locate the targets (represented by rubber tyres) in the South China Sea ,?the spokesman added.  Apart from the PLA, this exercise will also be participated by USCG, USAF and GFS.

SAREX 2003 began yesterday and will last until Saturday (November 29).  Prior to the conduct of the exercise, an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) SAR Seminar officiated by Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation was held successfully in Hong Kong on Monday (November 24) and Tuesday (November 25).  Its objective is to refresh the awareness of the participants regarding States' responsibilities on SAR and to keep them informed of the latest development in SAR techniques, practices and supporting infrastructure.  More than 30 representatives from 10 States attended the Seminar.

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Hong Kong to Host International Air Traffic Controllers Conference 2004

26 October 2003

Hong Kong will host an international conference with participation by more than 1,000 air traffic controllers from all over the world between March 22 and 26, 2004.  Aspects concerning aviation safety in general and the air traffic control (ATC) profession in particular will be discussed at the five-day event.

?Hong Kong is honoured and delighted to have the opportunity to host the 43 rd International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Association (IFATCA) Conference and Technical Exhibition in 2004. It was confirmed at the last Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 2003 that next year's event will be held in Hong Kong,?said Mr Peter Leung, Chairman of the Organising Committee IFATCA 2004 today (November 16).  

"We are also very pleased to have the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) as the major sponsor of the event, which will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre,?Mr Leung added.

IFATCA is an independent non-government and non-political professional organisation representing about 40,000 air traffic controllers in more than 120 countries.  The mission of the Federation is to protect and safeguard the interests of the ATC profession.  Amongst its goals are to promote safety, efficiency, and regularity in international air navigation, to assist and advise in the development of safe and orderly systems of ATC and new procedures and facilities, to promote and uphold a high standard of knowledge and professional efficiency among air traffic controllers, to closely cooperate with international and national aviation authorities and institutions concerned with air navigation, and to sponsor and support the passage of legislation and regulations which will increase and protect the safety of air navigation.

The supreme authority of IFATCA is vested in the Annual Conference, at which the Member Associations decide on the organisation and policy of the Federation.  The IFATCA Corporate Members are provided with the facility of a "Trade Fair" at the Conference where they can display their state-of-the-art products in communications, navigation and surveillence to the air traffic controllers and the many Directors of the air traffic services organisations.

Preparation for the 43 rd IFATCA Conference and Technical Exhibition has already started.  This involves the identification of suitable venues for various functions related to the Conference, the arrangement of social activities, and the compilation of the Conference magazine, etc.  

"I am glad that IFATCA has selected Hong Kong as the venue for the 43 rd Annual Conference.  HKCAD is fully committed to working with the Hong Kong Air Traffic Control Association (HKATCA), and will render support and assistance to it and IFATCA to ensure the event is smooth and successful,?said Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation.

"With Hong Kong 's excellent infrastructure, transportation network, hotels and conference facilities, I believe the 43 rd IFATCA Annual Conference and Technical Exhibition will be a success,?Mr Lam added.

Mr Lam and senior officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government are anticipated to be present at the opening ceremony scheduled on March 22 to demonstrate their support for the event.

Observers from international organisations such as International Civil Aviation Organization, International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations, International Air Transport Association, Airports Council International, and Eurocontrol Agency, etc are also expected to come to Hong Kong for the Conference.

The Organising Committee IFATCA 2004 has set up a web site to promote Hong Kong 's hosting of the 43 rd IFATCA Annual Conference and Technical Exhibition.  The address of the site is http://www.hkatca.org (Open with new window)

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Airlines offer more passenger and cargo services

26 October 2003

Fifteen more scheduled passenger and cargo services will operate to and from Hong Kong on a weekly basis in the Winter Season of 2003/04 (October 26, 2003 to March 27, 2004).

Air traffic at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is back to, and has even exceeded, pre-SARS levels, the Civil Aviation Department said today (October 26).

In the new season, 128 additional scheduled passenger and cargo services are offered per week, but 113 services have been cancelled, thus making a net increase of 15. More than half of the additional passenger services operate between Hong Kong and the Mainland, notably Shanghai and Beijing. The two destinations have registered an increase of 25 and 10 weekly services respectively, taking the total frequencies to 165 and 101 per week. The surge can be largely attributed to the higher demand for air services to Hong Kong by individual Mainland travellers. With the addition of 54 services per week, the number of weekly air services between Hong Kong and the Mainland stands at more than 600, ie, over 1,200 flight movements.

Four airlines have launched new passenger services to and from Hong Kong. These involve the provision of 14 weekly services to Bangkok by Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, three weekly services to Beijing by Cathay Pacific Airways from December 2, three weekly services between Nairobi and Hong Kong via Bangkok by Kenya Airways, and a weekly service from Moscow by Transaero Airlines. Kenya Airways and Transaero Airlines are new passenger carriers serving Hong Kong, while Nairobi is a new destination.

As regards cargo services, about half of the additional services are operated to Shanghai, Singapore and Cologne. Cologne in Germany is a new destination served by cargo carrier United Parcel Service. Another new port added to the route network of HKIA is Novosibirsk; cargo services to the port are operated by Aeroflot Russian International Airlines.

A total of 69 airlines now offer scheduled passenger and cargo services from Hong Kong to about 130 destinations worldwide. With the additional number of scheduled services offered by airlines, the total number of flight movements at HKIA has increased to about 4,300 per week.

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LegCo approves increase in air passenger departure tax to $120

8 October 2003

The Legislative Council passed a resolution today (October 8) to increase the air passenger departure tax (APDT) from $80 to $120. The increase will take effect on January 9, 2004.

Today's resolution will put into effect the proposed increase in APDT announced in the 2003-04 Budget.

The tax increase will generate additional revenue of $400 million for the Government in a full year, easing the Government's fiscal deficit by providing an additional and stable source of recurrent revenue.

In moving the resolution, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, said, "The increase in APDT will help relieve the deficit problem without affecting people's livelihood."

He noted that even with the tax increase, the ADPT is still a relatively small amount compared with the average price of an air ticket, and thus will not hinder the development of tourism.

The implementation of the proposal to raise the APDT was postponed because of the SARS attack earlier this year. The Government and the Airport Authority introduced a series of relief measures and initiatives to boost the aviation and tourism industries. With the concerted efforts of various sectors, the aviation and tourism industries have revived quickly.

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DGCA chairs major international air navigation conference

28 September 2003

Director-General of Civil Aviation Albert Lam was elected unanimously as the Chairman of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 11th Air Navigation Conference by the 529 delegates from 112 countries who are attending the conference in Canada.

It is the first time in half a century that such a significant international aviation conference has been chaired by a Chinese. Mr Lam was nominated by the United States as the Chairman and the nomination was seconded by Germany and Japan.

The conference, which is being held at the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada was convened on September 22 and will close on October 3.

The Conference is of extreme importance in establishing a roadmap for future air traffic management (ATM). It aims to discuss the development planning of the global ATM system in the coming 20 to 25 years, and will guide the development and implementation of an interoperable, seamless and global ATM system for the 21st century.

"In forging ahead the design of the future global air navigation system, the fundamental issues of safety and security will be the major concerns of the international aviation industry," said Dr Assad Kotaite, President of the Council, ICAO at the opening ceremony.

On his election as the conference Chairman, Mr Lam said: "It is indeed a great honour to me and to the People's Republic of China that I am elected as the Chairman."

The 18-member Chinese delegation was led by Mr Liu Shao-yong, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, with Mr Zhang Yao-kuan, Deputy Director of the Office of State Air Traffic Control Commission and Mr Lam as the deputy team leaders.

The Chinese delegation submitted working papers entitled "Views on ICAO Global ATM Operational Concept" and "Data Link Flight Information Services (DFIS) Applications" to the conference for deliberation.

From 1953 when the first ICAO Air Navigation Conference was convened to 1991, a total of 10 meetings have been held. This year's agenda items include the introduction and assessment of a global ATM operational concept, safety and security in ATM, ATM performance targets for safety, efficiency and regularity and the role of required total system performance in this respect, capacity-enhancement measures, aeronautical navigation issues, and aeronautical air-ground and air-to-air communications.

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Transit passengers using cross-boundary ferry service exempted from airport departure tax

27 September 2003

Transit passengers who arrive at Hong Kong International Airport via a new cross-boundary ferry service for direct onward travel by air will be exempted from the Air Passenger Departure Tax (APDT) under the APDT Ordinance (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order 2003.

The order was published in the Gazette today (September 27) and takes immediate effect.

The exemption is connected to the opening of the new airport cross-boundary ferry terminal on Monday (September 29). The terminal will enable passengers from Macau and certain Mainland ports to reach the airport directly by ferry for onward travel by air.

"Under the existing ADPT Ordinance, direct transit and connecting airside transit passengers are exempt from the Air Passenger Departure Tax," a Government spokesman said. "Therefore, it is consistent with Government policy to exempt from the tax all transit passengers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport by cross-boundary ferry."

"The arrangement will assist and encourage passengers from the Mainland and Macau to make use of the airport and further Hong Kong's development as a regional and international aviation hub," the spokesman said.

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Preliminary Report on GFS Helicopter Accident Released

25 September 2003

In accordance with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations, an Inspector's investigation is in progress to determine the circumstances and causes that relate to the accident on the Eurocopter EC155B1 helicopter of the Government Flying Service over Tung Chung Pass, Lantau Island, near Hong Kong International Airport on August 26, 2003.

A Civil Aviation Department spokesman today (September 25) said: "The preliminary report contains facts relating to the accident as determined up to the time of issue and must be regarded as tentative.

"More in-depth investigation and analysis work remain to be done before a conclusion can be drawn on what caused the accident. The final report is expected to be completed within one year."

"This preliminary report is published for general information," he added.

The following is the content of the full preliminary report:-

Chief Inspector of Accidents

Accident Investigation Division

Civil Aviation Department

46th Floor

Queensway Government Offices

66 Queensway

Hong Kong

25 September 2003

Accident Bulletin 1/03

Aircraft type: Eurocopter EC155B1

Registration: B-HRX

Year of manufacture: 2002

Number and type of engines: 2 Arriel 2C2 turbines

Date and time of accident: 26 August 2003 at 22:32 hours local time (14:32 UTC)

Place of accident: Tung Chung Pass, Lantau Island, near Hong Kong International Airport

Nature of Accident: The helicopter departed at 22:29 from Hong Kong International Airport, having been tasked with a Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) mission. The helicopter took the route across the high ground of Lantau Island via the Tung Chung Pass. After three minutes into the flight the helicopter impacted with terrain while crossing the Pass and was destroyed.

Type of flight: CASEVAC

Persons on board: Crew: Two Passengers: nil

Fatalities: Two

Commander's licence: Airline Transport Pilot's Licence

Commander's age: 34 years

Commander's experience: 3,900 hours (of which 150 were on type)

Other crew: One air crewman

Sources of information: Site investigation and interviews

EC155B1 Accident - 26 August 2003

All times are in local time

1. On the late evening of 26 August 2003, a Eurocopter EC155B1 helicopter operated by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service (GFS) departed at 22:29 from the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), having been tasked with a CASEVAC mission to pick up a patient from Cheung Chau. The helicopter took the route across Lantau Island (highest point 3,066 feet above mean sea level (AMSL)) via Tung Chung Pass (approximately 1,100 feet AMSL).

2. Approximately three minutes after take-off, at 22:32, whilst in level flight the helicopter impacted with terrain at an elevation of 1250 feet AMSL that sloped gently upwards both ahead and to the west of the Pass. The combined Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder (CVFDR) ceased to record at this point of time. The helicopter fuselage continued travelling forward in close ground contact for a further 50 metres. Main rotor blades were severed within the first few metres through contact with small trees and rocks, and the underbelly and right side of the fuselage were damaged substantially.

3. As the terrain falls away moderately sharply at the end of the 50 metre run, the helicopter became airborne again and travelled a horizontal distance of approximately 100 metres whilst falling through a vertical height of some 100 feet before impacting with terrain for a second time in a nose high attitude at an elevation of 1150 feet AMSL. The main body of the wreckage finally came to rest after travelling forward for a further 30 metres. The pilot and the air crewman were killed. There was no post-impact fire.

4. The flight was conducted under Special Visual Flight Rules, which require the pilot to remain clear of cloud and in visual contact with the surface. At the time of the accident the weather at HKIA (the cloud base was around 1200 feet and visibility was 10 km) was within GFS limits for single pilot operations at night.

5. Recordings from the CVFDR gave no indication of any aircraft system failures during the flight and no emergency call was made by the crew. Neither Air Traffic Control nor the GFS received any distress call from the helicopter.

6. Examination of the wreckage trail indicated that substantial damage was inflicted on the aircraft, in particular the main rotor blades, within the first few metres after initial impact. At the point of the second impact there was much debris from the tail fenestron and the antenna of the Automatically Deployable Emergency Locator Transmitter (ADELT) installed at the tail of the helicopter, suggesting a touchdown in a nose high attitude.

7. The take-off weight of the helicopter was 3,843kg, approximately 1,000 kg below the maximum approved gross weight for the EC155B1 helicopter (4,850kg). The aircraft was within both longitudinal and lateral center of gravity limits.

8. The pilot held a current Airline Transport Pilot's Licence (Helicopters and Gyroplanes) and a valid Class One medical certificate. He had 3,900 hours of operating experience. The pilot's conversion to the EC155B1 helicopter type was conducted in Hong Kong during January and February 2003, by technical and flying instructors from Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturer. His initial Licensing Flight Test and Operator Proficiency Check were carried out on 6 February 2003. The pilot was in current flying practice on both the AS332L2 Super Puma and EC155B1 as aircraft commander.

9. The Chief Inspector of Accidents has ordered an Inspector's Investigation into the cause of the accident in accordance with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations. The investigation is being conducted by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department with the participation of investigators from the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses pour la Securite de l'Aviation Civile of France. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the United Kingdom was requested to assist in the retrieval of data from the CVFDR of the accident helicopter.

10. The accident investigation team conducted interviews with a number of pilots who were airborne at around the time of the accident, the police and fire crews who were first to attend the scene of the accident, Air Traffic Control officers on duty at the time and members of the GFS.

11. During the course of the investigation, should safety recommendations be considered necessary, they will be promulgated to the parties concerned before the report is published.

_____________________________________________________________________

This Bulletin contains facts relating to the accident as determined up to the time of issue. The information must necessarily be regarded as tentative and subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available.

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Air traffic surge expected during Golden Week

21 September 2003

Flight movements at Hong Kong International Airport on the first day of National Day Golden Week (October 1) are expected to rise more than 16% over the current daily rate, bringing the number to 634, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (September 21).

The anticipated surge in demand for air transportation can be attributed to more individual travellers coming to Hong Kong from the Mainland, and local residents spending their holidays overseas during National Day Golden Week.

As at today, eight airlines have submitted slot requests to operate 88 additional scheduled and ad-hoc charter flights (a total of 176 flight movements) from tomorrow (September 22) to October 7, with most applications falling between October 1 (the first day of the National Day Golden Week) and October 5 (Sunday). All requests received so far have been accepted.

Among the additional flights, 65% will operate to and from Mainland destinations, while 27% and 8% will be between Hong Kong and Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia respectively.

Notably, the majority of the extra services are flights between Shanghai and Hong Kong, accounting for almost 60% of the total. Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand are also among the more popular destinations from Hong Kong in the period.

At present, there are an average of 545 daily flight movements at the airport. The figure represents more than 90% of pre-SARS level.

Last year, 36 additional scheduled and ad-hoc charter flights (a total of 72 flight movements) were operated around the National Day Golden Week period (September 22 to October 7, 2002), with Guilin, Taipei and Sapporo being the most preferred choices of air travellers.

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Hong Kong to host regional civil aviation conference in November 2004

12 September 2003

The 41st Conference of the Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Regions, coordinated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will be held in Hong Kong from November 1 to 5, 2004.

This year, the 40th DGCA Conference was held in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, from September 1 to 5. Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation, who was elected Vice-Chairman of the conference, attended the event with seven other representatives of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) as part of the Chinese delegation.

Following spirited discussions of the theme proposed by the HKCAD for next year, the DGCA Conference adopted "Partnership in Achieving a Safe, Secure and Efficient Air Transport System Through Effective Safety Oversight" as the theme of next year's gathering.

In its theme proposal, the HKCAD noted the need for closer co-operation and partnership as the world moves towards globalisation and aviation enters a new era of rapid technological development, bringing with it new safety, security and facilitation challenges. The scope for co-operation and partnership has also been extended and a much wider area is covered, including many matters related to safety and efficiency. Indeed, all areas addressed by the 18 Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation are covered. The form of co-operation may include consultation, information/experience sharing and joint efforts between the private sector and government authorities, between governments on a bilateral basis and among governments on a regional or international basis.

ICAO has expended great efforts to promote partnership in many areas, and various co-operation programmes have been developed, implemented and enhanced. To supplement these efforts, it is considered desirable for the conference to focus discussion next year on a subject that would help promote partnership and co-operation and enhance safety, security and efficiency through effective safety oversight.

It is hoped that the topic will attract papers to convey experience, ideas, comments or suggestions on the ways and means of co-operation being practised in the region or elsewhere. This includes any existing or planned programmes, or any new initiatives in any form of co-operation or partnership that could help achieve a safe, secure and efficient air transport system. It is also hoped that through the presentations and discussions, the next Conference will gain an insight into the recent development in co-operation practices/programmes in respect of safety, security and efficiency through effective safety oversight; review any relevant practices or programmes and discuss ways of enhancement as appropriate; discuss and agree on new co-operation initiatives and strategies for the region; and formulate action items for the implementation of agreed programmes/measures.

This year's DGCA Conference in Mongolia, whose theme was "Human Factors and Safety Culture in Safety Management Systems to Enhance Safety, Security and Efficiency through Close Cooperation", was well attended, with 154 representatives from 36 Asia/Pacific States, Administrations and three International Organisations. Mr Albert Lam acted as moderator of the session on the theme during the second day of the conference.

A total of 93 discussion/information papers were submitted for the conference. Besides the theme topic, items discussed included air navigation planning and implementation, Satellite-based Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) implementation activities, aviation safety, aviation security, air transport and technical cooperation.

The HKCAD submitted five papers covering the latest CNS/ATM systems developments in Hong Kong, regulation of air traffic services in Hong Kong, emergency escape provisions - doors and escape slides deployment programme, backup air traffic control center and tower at the Hong Kong International Airport, and the proposed theme topic for next year.

HKCAD representatives participated actively in the conference by taking turns to comment on various aviation subjects and update the delegates on the activities and achievements of the department. The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States recognised Mr Lam's practice to encourage colleagues to speak up at the conference.

Prior to the conference, Mr Lam made a brief stop in Beijing and met Captain Yang Yuan-yuan, Minister of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) and Mr Liu Shao-yong, Vice Minister of CAAC. The major purpose of the visit was to exchange views with the CAAC regarding issues to be discussed at the ICAO 11th Air Navigation Conference to be held from September 22 to October 3 in Montreal, Canada. Mr Lam will be the deputy team leader of the Chinese delegation to the conference.

Agenda items include introduction and assessment of a global air traffic management operational concepts, safety and security in air traffic management, air traffic management performance targets for safety, efficiency and regularity and the role of required total system performance in this respect, capacity-enhancement measures, aeronautical navigation issues, and aeronautical air-ground and air-to-air communications.

Mr Lam also discussed a wide range of issues with the CAAC Minister. These included the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome on the aviation industry and the latest developments in Hong Kong and the Mainland, as well as the operations of Hong Kong-based airlines, etc. The discussions helped to promote CAAC's understanding of civil aviation activities in Hong Kong, and were beneficial to the future development of the aviation sectors in the Mainland and Hong Kong.

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Security Bureau responds to media enquiries

29 August 2003

Following is a statement by the Security Bureau in response to media enquiries about the procurement of Eurocopter EC155 B1 helicopters by the Government Flying Service today (August 29):

In response to a Chinese newspaper article today (August 29) alleging that the procurement of Eurocopter EC155 B1 Helicopter was related to the lobbying over visa-free arrangements for SAR passport holders, a spokesman for the Security Bureau pointed out that the procurement of Eurocopter EC155 B1 helicopters by the Government Flying Service was done in accordance with the Government's established tendering procedures. The procurement was carried out through a worldwide tendering exercise consistent with the World Trade Organisation government procurement agreement. In fact, the EC155 B1 helicopters are the most modern and advanced amongst similar types.

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French aviation experts arrive to help with helicopter crash investigation

29 August 2003

Two aviation experts from France arrived in Hong Kong today (August 29) to assist in the investigation of the August 26 crash of Government Flying Service Eurocopter EC155 B1 on a hillside near Pak Kung Au, Lantau.

"With the participation of investigators from outside, I believe that the investigation will be conducted in a more efficient and thorough manner," said Mr Norman Lo, acting Director-General of Civil Aviation. "During the course of our investigation, we may solicit further assistance from other sources and invite other aviation experts to participate in the investigation if the need arises."

Mr Bernard Boudaille, Accredited Representative of the French Government's Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile and the Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA), and Mr Michel Laurent, Flight Safety Engineer from Eurocopter, will join the team investigating the causes of the accident. They will visit the crash site at Pak Kung Au tomorrow morning (August 30).

An Inspector's Investigation notice was published in the Government Gazette today. Any persons who wish to make representations as to the circumstances or causes of the accident should do so by fax at 2501 0640 or by telephone at 2867 4203 to the Chief Inspector of Accidents.

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Screening of all hold baggage at airport boosts public confidence in air travel

28 August 2003

A three-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Working Group Symposium on the Promotion of Effective 100 per cent Baggage Screening hosted by the Civil Aviation Department in Hong Kong ended today (August 28).

On the first day of the Symposium (August 26), Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation delivered the keynote speech. He said that air traffic in the Asia Pacific Region had regained its momentum in the past two years after the introduction of additional security measures both on the ground and in flight.

According to statistics of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 532 million people travelled by air on international scheduled services in 2001. The International Air Transport Association forecasts show that the number of international passengers will grow to 656 million by 2006 and 800 million by 2011 respectively, with China being the market that has ample room for growth.

Traffic within the APEC member economies formed a significant part in the global volume. For example, the traffic within Asia and between Asia and North America accounted for 11.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent of the total respectively.

"Airlines have placed high accord to safety and security in travel, so do the passengers when they choose which airlines to fly with. Screening of hold baggage is one of the important security control measures in ensuring that no restricted articles that are used for unlawful interference are carried on board," Mr Lam said.

"Hong Kong has been applying 100 per cent screening of baggage since our operations at the old airport at Kai Tak. This practice is continued to be applied when we relocated to the new airport. The modus operandi was modified and more sophisticated equipment were deployed. In 2002, the Hong Kong International Airport handled 16.7 million departing and transfer passengers and screened more than 19 million pieces of baggage, or over 52,000 pieces a day. Full screening of baggage will no doubt give the travelling public additional confidence in the security and safety of travel.

"Looking ahead we are facing the challenge from growing number of travellers who bring with them increasing number of baggage in various sizes that we have to screen. These passengers also demand for better facilitation, which puts pressure on the airports and airlines to process and screen their baggage faster. The introduction of very large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 which can carry more than 550 passengers also poses further challenges as to how to complete the screening of the passengers' baggage to cope with the requirement for speedy embarkation of passengers. I believe that the discussions can generate invaluable benefits to the industry and the travelling public," Mr Lam noted.

The objective of the Symposium is to allow member economies to share knowledge and experience. During the Symposium, security experts introduced state-of-the-art technology and equipment in screening, requirements in human resources in respect of recruitment, training and quality control in operations of equipment, and the design of airport to cater for the various modes of operations in screening.

Over a hundred representatives from 13 member economies including the United States attended the Symposium.

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SCS writes to all colleagues

27 August 2003

Following is the letter issued by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joseph W P Wong, to all civil servants today (August 27) in memory of colleagues who died in harness:

Dear Colleagues,

All of us are sorry to learn of the news that Mr Pang Fu-kwok, Pilot I, and Mr Chan Man-tik, Air Crewman Officer III of the Government Flying Services, lost their lives during a rescue operation last night. Their helicopter fell above Lantau while on the way to Cheung Chau to pick up an SOS caller. Equally saddening is that Police Constable Wong Kit-hong, who was badly injured in a traffic accident while on duty in Tseung Kwan O, passed away two days ago after two weeks' treatment.

We mourn deeply over the sad loss of these officers. I have already written to their families to extend our sincere condolences and to undertake that the Civil Service Bureau and departments concerned will render all necessary assistance to help them tide over such a heartbreaking and trying time.

The three colleagues who lost their lives at work are models of our civil service's firm commitment to serving the community. Their devotion and professionalism will earn the respect of the entire civil service as well as the community. I pray that their families will find new strength in grief to carry on their life journey.

Mr Wong's letter has been uploaded onto the Civil Service Bureau website at http://www.csb.gov.hk/ (Open with new window).

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CAD will conduct an investigation into a GFS helicopter accident to determine the casual factors

27 August 2003

The Deputy Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr Norman Lo said today (August 27) that a detailed investigation is being conducted into the cause of an aircraft accident involving a Government Flying Service (GFS) EC155 B1 helicopter with registration B-HRX, which occurred last night at Pak Kung Au, near Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island.

"An accident investigation team was set up for investigation in accordance with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accident) Regulation. The team consists of five Civil Aviation Department (CAD) trained staff including two helicopter pilots, one engineering expert, one airworthiness officer and one air traffic control officer. A representative from GFS will also join the team of investigators. Eurocopter, the manufacturer of EC155 B1 helicopter, Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile and the Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA), which is responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accident, will also be informed of the accident," he said.

"All information and evidence pertaining to the aircraft, aircrew members, meteorological conditions, air traffic control data, etc will be preserved as soon as possible to help investigate the accident."

CAD coordinated the search and rescue operations after the helicopter lost contact with the Air Traffic Control Tower at 10:33 pm last night (August 26), three minutes after it departed Chek Lap Kok for Cheung Chau to carry out medical evacuation duties. Ground search parties located the main wreckage of the helicopter near Pak Kung Au early in this morning (August 27). The two crew members were found trapped inside the wreckage and were certified dead on arrival at Princess Margaret Hospital.

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SCS offers deepest condolences to GFS crew members' families

27 August 2003

The Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joseph W P Wong, today (August 27) expressed profound sadness upon the death of two crew members of the Government Flying Service while performing their duties late last night.

"On behalf of the Civil Service, I offer my deepest condolences to their family members.

"The Civil Service Bureau will make every effort to help their families during this sad and difficult period," said Mr Wong.

He said: "I would also like to thank those deeply involved in the search and rescue operation last night and this morning."

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S for S expresses condolences to family members of two GFS crew members

27 August 2003

The Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, was shocked and deeply saddened to learn the death of two crew members of the Government Flying Service today (August 27) when their aircraft crashed near Tung Chung while on the way to Cheung Chau to airlift a patient to hospital last night.

He sent his deepest condolences to the family members of the two crew members.

"The Bureau stands ready to provide all possible assistance to help their family members," Mr Lee said.

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GFS expresses condolences to families of two deceased crew members

27 August 2003

Mr Pang Fu-kwok, Pilot I and Mr Chan Man-tik, Air Crewman Officer III of Government Flying Service (GFS) died in an accident while on duty on August 26. It was a time of great sorrow to all GFS members. Mr Pang and Mr Chan were highly devoted and committed officers. Government Flying Service extends deepest condolences to the families of the two officers and will provide necessary assistance to their families.

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Statement by CE

27 August 2003

The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, was shocked and deeply saddened to hear that two crew members of the Government Flying Service died while performing their duties last (August 26) night.

Their helicopter crashed on a hillside on Lantau while on its way to Cheung Chau to carry out a casualty evacuation operation.

Mr Tung said, "Their dedication will be long remembered by the community.

"My deepest condolences go to their families."

The Chief Executive was concerned about the accident and said that an investigation would be conducted to look into it.

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Helicopter crash roundup

27 August 2003

A Government Flying Service (GFS) helicopter crashed on a hillside near Tung Chung on Lantau last night (August 26).

Its pilot and a crewman were found inside the wrecked body of the helicopter. They were rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital where they were certified dead.

The helicopter left its base in Chek Lap Kok at about 10.30 pm for Cheung Chau to airlift a casualty to hospital. It failed to respond when being contacted by the Headquarters at Chek Lap Kok at 10.41 pm.

An air, sea and land search and rescue operation was immediately conducted. The operation, coordinated by the Civil Aviation Department, involved two GFS helicopters, several vessels from the Marine Police, Fire Services Department and Marine Department, as well as the Mountain Rescue Unit of the Civil Aid Service.

The wreckage of the helicopter was located by the firemen at about 300 metres near Fung Wong Path, Fung Wong Shan on Lantau Island at 1.18 am today (August 27). The crew members were found trapped inside the helicopter shortly before 3 am and were certified dead on arrival at hospital at around 4 am.

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GFS helicopter fails to respond to base

27 August 2003

A search and rescue operation is now underway for a Government Flying Service (GFS) helicopter, which was reported missing shortly after 10.30 pm yesterday (August 26).

Initial report said the helicopter, with one pilot and one crewman on board failed to respond when being contacted by the GFS Headquarters at Chep Lap Kok.

The Civil Aviation Department is coordinating a search and rescue operation around Tung Chung area. Two GFS helicopters, several vessels from the Marine Police, Marine Department and Fire Services Department are taking part in the search operation.

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Inspector's Investigation Conducted into the Cause of Aircraft Accident

1 August 2003

An Inspector's Investigation is being conducted into the cause of the accident which occurred on 18 July whereby an A330-300 aircraft with registration B-HYA and operated in the name of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd, was subjected to severe upper air turbulence resulting in injury to crew and passengers when flying from Kota Kinabalu to Hong Kong.

A Notice on the Investigation was published in the Government Gazette today (August 1).

Any persons who wish to make representation as to the circumstances or cause of the accident should do so by letter, fax or telephone to the Chief Inspector of Accidents c/o The Civil Aviation Department, 46/F., Queensway Government Offices, Queensway, Hong Kong (Tel: 2867 4203; Fax: 2501 0640) within 14 days of the Notice.

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CAD Investigates an Inflight Incident due to Air Turbulence

18 July 2003

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) is investigating an incident today (18 July) which involves the injury of passengers and crew members on board an aircraft of the Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited.

Shortly before 2 pm, the Air Traffic Control Centre of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) received a report that an inbound flight KA060 from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, had encountered turbulence. Three passengers and six cabin crew members sustained various degrees of injuries or required medical consultation.

The Airbus A330 aircraft was given priority landing on the north runway of HKIA at 2.36 pm. The original scheduled time of arrival of the flight was 2.39 pm.

At the time when the incident occurred, the aircraft was cruising at an altitude of 41,000 feet at about 300 nautical miles to the southeast of Hong Kong. The aircraft was within the Manila Flight Information Region then. There were a total of 236 passengers and 14 crew members on board the flight.

Three passengers and six cabin crew members were taken to Tuen Mun Hospital for medical evaluation. Six cabin crew members were also transported to Princess Margaret Hospital for observation.

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HK Passes ICAO's Airport Anti-SARS Measures Evaluation with Flying Colours

9 July 2003

Mr Norman Lo, Acting Director-General of Civil Aviation today (July 9) received an evaluation report by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which states that the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) fully complies with the recommended Anti-SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) measures developed under the auspices of ICAO.  

The report was produced following a three-day inspection visit to assess the implementation of Anti-SARS measures at HKIA by a team of ICAO experts led by aviation medical expert Dr Silvio Finkelstein.  The team visited Hong Kong between July 6 and 9 upon the invitation by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD).

The visit was conducted as part of the ICAO Anti-SARS Airport Evaluation Project.  A set of recommended measures developed by ICAO together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was used to evaluate the performance of international airports in preventing the spread of SARS.  These measures include the adoption of specific procedures for screening of passengers and airport workers, availability of information to all passengers about SARS, and the issue of guidance on handling of suspected cases on board and at destination.  It aims at preventing the spread of SARS through air travel to and from participating international airports.  

"I am delighted to present Hong Kong CAD with a very good evaluation report stating that HKIA fully complies with ICAO's recommended Anti-SARS measures,?said Dr Finkelstein on behalf of the Anti-SARS Airport Evaluation Project Team.   The Team has assessed HKIA's implementation and compliance with Anti-SARS measures through legislation and documentation reviews, as well as on-site inspection of the measures taken and the procedures adopted.  

Mr Norman Lo said that he was encouraged by the positive comments of the Team.  "I am pleased to learn that the ICAO experts find the health screening procedures and Anti-SARS measures implemented at HKIA appropriate, and that they are implemented efficiently and consistently.  Safety, security and efficiency are all our priorities when it comes to international air travel.  I pledge that CAD will continue to perform our roles with the support of Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) and Port Health Office to ensure the stringent standards in these areas are maintained,?Mr Lo added.

At present, temperature checking of all passengers, whether departing, arriving or transiting Hong Kong is mandatory at HKIA.  Infrared Fever Screening System is available at Departure Hall, Arrival Hall and Transfer Points for body temperature screening purpose.  Passengers are also required to fill out and submit health declaration forms.  All airport staff also take temperature before reporting for duty.

The Team of ICAO experts is composed of Dr Finkelstein, a senior medical officer from Argentina and Ms Diane Cote, an expert in passenger ground handling operation. Hong Kong is amongst the first batch of cities to participate in the ICAO Anti-SARS Airport Evaluation Project.  During their stay in Hong Kong, the ICAO experts met representatives of CAD, Department of Health and AAHK.   

The Team will leave Hong Kong tomorrow (July 10) to continue with their inspection visits at the international airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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CAD Grants Approval to First Hong Kong-Based Regional Jet Operator

27 June 2003

Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (June 27) presented CR Airways Limited with a varied Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) for the operation of its first Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet.  With the granting of this AOC variation, CR Airways becomes the third Hong Kong-based airline to operate commercial air transport using fixed-wing aircraft for passengers.

Back in March 2002, the company was granted an AOC to operate helicopter services. An AOC is required for flying an aircraft registered in Hong Kong for the purpose of public transport.

"Over the last several months, the company has worked extremely hard to reach the high operational and engineering standards required by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to operate this new aircraft type in Hong Kong.  Subsequent to the successful completion of a proving flight in the presence of my flight standards and airworthiness inspectors, the company has obtained CAD's approval to operate its 50-seat CRJ-200 aircraft for the purpose of public transport,?Mr Lam said.

The CRJ-200 has a range of about 3,700 kilometres that puts most Mainland cities and some South East Asian destinations within its reach.  "I believe the operation of this regional jet will provide much added convenience to both business and leisure travellers alike.  Its services will strengthen Hong Kong's status as a regional and international aviation hub,?he added.

"CAD has a statutory responsibility in regulating aviation activities in Hong Kong.  CAD also has a role to play in the development of all sectors within the Hong Kong aviation industry and we will therefore facilitate all our AOC holders to the maximum extent possible within our regulatory scopes, such as the application by CR Airways to launch charter passenger flights in the initial stage of its operation,?Mr Lam said.

CAD received an application from CR Airways in November 2002 to vary its AOC to include fixed-wing aircraft operations for carriage of passengers. Following the approval of the relevant Manuals/Maintenance Schedule/Flight Test Schedule and the conducting of inspections of its facilities and a proving flight to ensure its fulfillment of the Department's requirements, an AOC is granted to CR Airways for the operation of its CRJ-200 aircraft.

CAD will continue to monitor compliance with the established airworthiness and operational standards by CR Airways through a combined programme of inspections.

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International Civil Aviation Organization to Evaluate Airport Anti-SARS Measures

27 June 2003

Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (June 27) said that the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) had invited a team of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) experts to conduct a three-day inspection visit beginning July 7 to assess the implementation of Anti-SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) measures at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

The visit will be conducted as part of the ICAO Anti-SARS Airport Evaluation Project. Areas of evaluation consist of specific procedures for screening of passengers and airport workers; information access to all passengers about SARS and guidance on handling of suspected cases on board and at destination. It aims at preventing the spread of SARS through air travel to and from participating international airports. The Team will assess HKIA's implementation and compliance with Anti-SARS measures. A report on the inspection's findings and recommendations will be provided to CAD, which issues an aerodrome licence to the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) for the safe and efficient operation of HKIA.

The Team of ICAO experts is composed of an aviation medical expert and a passenger ground handling expert.

At present, temperature checking of all passengers, whether departing, arriving or transiting Hong Kong is mandatory at HKIA. Passengers are also required to fill out health declaration forms.

"Hong Kong is amongst one of the first batch of cities to participate in the ICAO Anti-SARS Airport Evaluation Project. I am confident that through the inspection visit, the ICAO experts will find the health screening procedures and Anti-SARS measures implemented at HKIA appropriate, and that they are implemented efficiently and consistently. I trust our airport is in compliance with Anti-SARS protective measures," Mr Lam said.

During their stay in Hong Kong, the ICAO experts will meet representatives of CAD, Department of Health and AAHK.

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Aircraft Not a High Risk Environment for Virus Transmission

10 May 2003

Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (May10) said that the entire passenger fleets of the two Hong Kong based airlines are equipped with very efficient HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrester) filters to remove viruses, and that aircraft itself is not a high risk environment for virus transmission.
 
 “The HEPA filters, which are made of micro glass fibers, are 99.97 per cent efficient in removing dust and airborne contaminants with a particle size of 0.3 micron and above, including viruses. Size of droplet is larger than five microns. Depending on aircraft types, there are two to eight such filters installed in every aircraft.  This is the same type of filter used by hospital operating theatres,” Mr Lam said when explaining the operation of the inflight air circulation and filtration systems.
 
The World Health Organisation (WHO) agrees that the filter systems in commercial aircraft have proven to be effective against infectious disease.
 
“In flight, fresh air is introduced into the cabin continuously, and this fresh air is mixed with cabin air, which is passed through filters in about 50:50 proportion. The entire cabin air volume is exchanged every two to three minutes.

“The average relative humidity in the cabin is 15 to 20 per cent during flight. A low humidity environment has been shown to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth.
 
“Moreover, air supplied to aircraft toilets and galleys is not re-circulated but is expelled from the aircraft, and air in the cabin is drawn down and extracted at floor level,” Mr Lam added, pointing out that there is no longitudinal flow of air through the cabin. The air supplied to one seat row leaves at approximately the same seat row, thus minimising airflow in the fore and aft directions. In other words, the air of one person passes another at floor level only.

“Since mid-April, temperature checks for all arriving, departing and transit passengers at the Hong Kong International Airport have been implemented. In line with the WHO guidelines, Hong Kong carriers will not accept passengers with symptoms and signs compatible with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Local air operators also carry out scheduled cabin cleaning with cleansing agents accepted for use on aircraft. Air travel is not a high-risk activity, neither is aircraft itself a high-risk environment for SARS transmission,” Mr Lam reiterated.

Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published guidelines in early May for its Member States to help stop the international spread of SARS by air. It urges Contracting States to implement pre-boarding medical screening of passengers at check-in; provide all incoming passengers with a detailed information leaflet on SARS; implement medical screening of passengers arriving directly from or via affected areas; advise pilots to radio ahead if someone on board exhibits SARS symptoms; instruct crew on dealing with suspected SARS-patients in flight; and disinfect aircraft on which a suspected SARS patient has travelled.
 
“Hong Kong has already taken the necessary measures urged by ICAO to prevent the spread of SARS by air transport,” Mr Lam said.

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CAD to Grant Certificate of Registration to New Type of Executive Jet

26 February 2003

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) today (February 26) indicated that Certificate of Registration would be granted shortly to Gulfstream 200 (G200), a new type of executive jet in Hong Kong. It is a large cabin, high performance, twin-engined 10-seater aircraft with a maximum flying range of 3,600 nautical miles.

The G200 is the second Gulfstream aircraft registered in Hong Kong, and is also the third aircraft under the management of Metrojet Limited, which is one of the two business charter operators in Hong Kong. Including this aircraft, there will be altogether four executive jets in the Hong Kong Civil Aircraft Register. The latest jet will soon replace the Gulfstream IV currently used by the company.

"The aircraft has been built and certified to the United States Federal Aviation Administration Standards, and has met the Hong Kong Aviation Requirements. It will offer an alternative travel means to the very busy senior executives constantly in the air. Not only will the new aircraft provide great comfort to travellers, it will also give them a unique flying experience," said Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation at the G200 arrival reception at the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC).

"In Hong Kong, executive jets have gained growing popularity. The total movements of Metrojet have more than doubled in two years' time, reaching over 120 movements last year. At the HKBAC, a total of 1,495 aircraft movements were recorded in 2002, which represents more than 30 per cent increase over the previous year. The types of aircraft involved included executive jets, private aircraft and light aircraft, etc. The above figures demonstrate the potential of the general aviation business development in Hong Kong," he noted.

Since last October, CAD staff have worked very closely with those of Metrojet to ensure the new aircraft type reaches the high operational and engineering standards required by the Department.

"The delivery of this aircraft will benefit the Hong Kong community, who now have another option to get around the globe very conveniently, especially to locations that are not often served by scheduled airlines," Mr Lam added.

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Safe Carriage of Dangerous Goods & Restricted Articles by Air

24 January 2003

As the number of air passengers at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is expected to climb to a new height in the approaching Chinese New Year holidays, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) today (January 24) reminds these travellers on the importance of the safe carriage of dangerous goods and restricted articles. They will enjoy a smooth and fast check-in as well as a safe and worry-free air journey without improperly carrying these items.

According to CAD, a total of 1,024 slot applications for operating extra flights from tomorrow (January 25) to February 10 have been received, representing an increase of 18 per cent over last year. A record high of 737 flight movements is anticipated on Friday (January 31), the day preceding the Lunar New Year's Day.

"In view of the large number of air travellers during the period, it is of importance to remind them on the restrictions of the carriage of dangerous goods and restricted articles on board aircraft because these items pose a threat to aviation safety and security," said Mr Simon Li, Chief Safety Officer of CAD.

In 2002, an average of about 2,000 dangerous goods and restricted articles were intercepted from air passengers every day at HKIA.

He said that the most commonly found dangerous goods inside baggage at HKIA were lighters, perfume or toiletry items, aerosols or gas cylinders for medical or sporting uses, signal flares, gas torches, and household items such as adhesives, polishes, bleach and drain cleaner. These items could be a danger when transported by air due to sudden temperature and pressure fluctuation and vibration. The law, therefore, restricts the type and quantity of dangerous goods allowed to be carried by air passengers on board an aircraft.

"It is an offence to take forbidden dangerous goods on board as they pose a significant risk to health, safety or property and have to be removed. As a matter of fact, many dangerous goods can be shipped as cargo if properly prepared, while some can be taken on board by passengers with restrictions applied," Mr Li added.

In respect of restricted articles, carriage of knife, knife-like object and bladed item is not allowed in the aircraft cabin and within the enhanced security restricted area of HKIA for enhancement of security. Passengers can put those items in their check-in baggage if needed. Nail clippers (excluding nail file) less than six cm long, round-ended nail files, and round-ended scissors with blade less than five cm long, however, are permitted.

Mr Li emphasised that if passengers observed the above restrictions on the carriage of dangerous goods and restricted articles, delay and inconvenience could be greatly minimised during check-in.

Recently, CAD has further stepped up its effort to educate the travelling public by erecting two booths at Hong Kong and Kowloon Airport Express Stations for displaying the forbidden items. In mid-2002, three similar booths were installed at HKIA.

More information on the safe carriage of dangerous goods and restricted articles can be obtained from the CAD website, address of which is http://www.cad.gov.hk(Open with new window)

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Air Traffic in Hong Kong Recovers to or Even Exceeds the Pre-911 Level

8 January 2003

Mr. Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (January 8) pointed out that the air traffic in Hong Kong, in particular the air cargo one, had recovered to or even exceeded the pre-911 level.

In the 12 months preceding December 2002 (i.e. from December 2001 to November 2002), the total number of aircraft movements was 205,032. The figure was slightly higher than 194,371 recorded in the 12 months preceding September 2001 (i.e. from September 2000 to August 2001).

As regards cargo and passenger throughputs, the figures were 2.46 million tonnes and 34.1 million respectively for the 12 months preceding December 2002. Both figures show a rise when compared with those posted in the 12 months preceding September 2001. The relevant figures then were 2.12 million tonnes and 33.9 million. As a matter of fact, the amount of cargo handled in November 2002 was 253,000 tonnes, the highest monthly figure ever.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fourth International Symposium on Electronics in Air Transport Industry, Mr. Lam said that in the past two years, the air transport industry, either locally or internationally, had seen mixed emotions, challenges and achievements.

"Locally, the two major airlines in Hong Kong keep expanding their fleets and new aircraft types such as Airbus A340-600 have been added into the Hong Kong Civil Aircraft Register. Together with the issue of new Air Operator's Certificates to a helicopter company and a business jet operator, such diversified developments are most encouraging and challenging.

"Internationally, the successful launch of the new wide-bodied aircraft Airbus A380 and the introduction of more system elements of the satellite-based Communications, Navigations and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems represents the great achievements that have been made in the air transport industry. Furthermore, the successful biddings by China to host the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai as well as China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are anticipated as further stimulus to air traffic growth in the Asia Pacific region," he said.

On the less positive side, Mr. Lam noted, the gloomy global economic climate caused some airlines to reduce their services or even suspend their operations. The situation was worsened by the impacts of the September 11 incidents.

"The air transport industry has to take into account the latest developments and critically examine its business model from various perspectives, such as finance, customer service, security, technologies and operations, in order to sustain, plan and/or expand their business," he said.

The theme of the two-day symposium is "Continuing Advancement in Electronic Technologies - the Key Factor for Providing Safe and Efficient Air Journeys". Organised by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Hong Kong Branch, the symposium is attended by about 120 participants from the Mainland, Macau, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia and Singapore in addition to those from Hong Kong. They are key players from governments, airport authorities, equipment suppliers, communications service providers, academia, and learned engineering institutions, including renowned scholars from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The participants take opportunities of the forum to review the enabling air transport technologies that have been implemented at busy airports, the introduction of the satellite-based Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems, and the enhanced security measures etc, with emphasis on increasing air traffic throughput and safety.

"I am confident that the participants can take advantage of the presence of the prominent international air transport professionals and equipment suppliers to share and exchange valuable knowledge, experience and insights on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and their applications in the air transport industry," Mr Lam said, adding that their proactive involvement and commitment to the continuous improvement in technologies would definitely give the air transport industry a promising future.

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Flight movements to break record in Lunar New Year

7 January 2003

A record high of flight movements at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is expected to be achieved on January 31 (Friday), the day preceding the Lunar New Year's Day, when 732 aircraft are scheduled to arrive and depart.

"The number of flight movements expected on the day preceding the Lunar New Year's Day represents an increase of about 24 per cent when compared with an average of 590 movements a day," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (January 7).

As at today, 20 airlines have submitted slot requests to operate 515 additional scheduled and ad-hoc charter flights (i.e. a total of 1,030 flight movements) from January 25 to February 10, with most applications falling on the period between January 31 (the day preceding the Lunar New Year's Day) and February 2 (the second day of the Lunar New Year). All the requests received so far have been accepted.

"The total number of additional flights represents a 15 per cent increase over last year's Lunar New Year holidays, when slot requests to operate 896 extra flights were received. With the current runway capacity of 49 flight movements per hour, the extra traffic can be coped with," the spokesman added.

Airlines that have already submitted requests plan to operate flights to 22 destinations in the Mainland, nine destinations in Northeast Asia, eight destinations in Southeast Asia, and two destinations in Australia. Shanghai and Taipei are the most popular destinations, followed by Bangkok, Guilin, Sapporo and Phuket.

The previous record high of flight movements in a single day occurred on March 29, 2002, which was an Easter holiday. A total of 648 flight movements took place at the HKIA on that day.