- CAD Well Prepared for Y2K Rollover, (29 December 1999)
- CAD Organises Annual Search and Rescue Exercise, (1 December 1999)
- CAD Hosted Search and Rescue Symposium, (30 November 1999)
- Increased Passenger and Cargo Services Offered by Airlines, (26 October 1999)
- Aircraft Safety Not Compromised, (22 October 1999)
- Investigation on China Southern Airlines CZ341 incident, (18 October 1999)
- Flight safety, (3 September 1999)
- The Airport commenced full dual runways operation, (31 August 1999)
- Preliminary on-site investigation of air crash accident completed, (25 August 1999)
- Chek Lap Kok wind conditions on August 22, (24 August 1999)
- Flight Data Recorders retrieved, (24 August 1999)
- Civil Aircraft Accident - Inspector's Investigation, (23 August 1999)
- Financial Secretary's transcript, (23 August 1999)
- Transcript of Chief Executive's media session at PMH, (23 August 1999)
- Chief Executive's Statement on Air Accident, (22 August 1999)
- Airport To Resume Operation, (22 August 1999)
- Press release on CI642 accident on August 22, (22 August 1999)
- CAD finishes investigation into ground incident of June 17, (8 July 1999)
- Ground Incident - CI665, (19 June 1999)
- International Civil Aviation Organisation Meeting, (1 March 1999)

CAD Well Prepared for Y2K Rollover

29 December 1999

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) is well prepared for the Y2K rollover and has developed a comprehensive contingency plan to deal with incidents that may happen during both time-zone transitions (local and Universal Time Constant (UTC)) into the new millennium.

"Being the local aviation sector coordinator, CAD will ensure a safe and uninterrupted airport and air traffic control operation for Hong Kong during the rollover," Mr W Y Leung, Assistant Director of Civil Aviation (Technical and Planning) said during a press visit to CAD's Y2K Coordination and Control Centre (CAD Y2KCCC) and the Hong Kong China Y2K Air Traffic Management Centre (HKC Y2K ATMC) today (Wednesday).

"Starting from 10 pm on December 31 (Friday), CAD will activate its Y2K contingency plan such as resorting to use the south runway only if necessary until all air traffic control systems and the associated facilities in Hong Kong have been checked for normal operation.

"The air traffic services Y2K contingency measures to be activiated at the same time include 15-minute longitudinal separation between aircraft flying at the same altitude and the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Contingency Route Structure. These measures will be enforced until health checks on all air traffic control facilities are completed and a region wide deactivation agreement is reached through the coordination of the ICAO Regional Y2K Coordination Unit (RY2K-CU) in Bangkok, Thailand.

"If necessary, contingency plans will also be implemented by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), the Hong Kong based airlines and other aviation related organisations with a view to controlling and rectifying Y2K related problems within the shortest possible time to minimise service disruption to travellers.

"To further ensure safety, aircraft operators which are unable to declare that their aircraft are Y2K compliant will not be permitted to make any flight to, from or overflying Hong Kong from 10 pm on December 31 to midnight on January 1, 2000 (Saturday). Such condition is applicable to all commercial, general aviation and non-revenue flights. Up to now, all the airlines operating flights during the period have confirmed that their aircraft are Y2K compliant," Mr Leung said.

He added that the period would be subject to review on January 1, 2000 and might be shortened or extended depending on the circumstances prevailing after the Y2K rollover.
To report and advise on the Y2K transition status of the aviation sector in Hong Kong, the CAD Y2K CCC will be operated from 8 pm on December 31 to 3.30 pm on January 1, 2000. Its closing time will again be subject to review depending on the situation.

"The CAD Y2K CCC will maintain close liaison with the local aviation related organisations and relevant government departments such as the Hong Kong Observatory and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to oversee the Y2K transition of the aviation sector.

"All the key members of the local aviation related organisations such as AAHK, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited will also set up their coordination centers for direct liaison and communication with the CAD Y2K CCC. Other organisations including air cargo operators, ramp handling operators, ground handling agents and aviation fuel providers will report their status to CAD through AAHK.

"To further facilitate coordination between CAD's Air Traffic Services and AAHK, an air traffic control officer from CAD will be posted to AAHK's Y2K Command and Control Centre, and an officer from the AAHK will be posted to the CAD Y2K CCC" Mr Leung said.

Meanwhile, the HKC Y2K ATMC will be activated from 4 pm on December 31 to coordinate with the RY2K-CU and the adjacent air traffic control centers in the Asia Pacific Region on Y2K related operational issues.

An air traffic control officer from CAD arrives in Bangkok today to act as the Regional Coordinator of the RY2K-CU. He will closely liaise with the HKC Y2K ATMC and other regional Air Traffic Management Centres to exchange information pertinent to Hong Kong and the regional air traffic control operations during the Y2K rollover.

CAD will deploy more than 120 staff from different units to man the CAD Y2K CCC, the HKC Y2K ATMC and other facilities to strengthen support to Hong Kong's air traffic control operations on December 31 and January 1.


CAD Organises Annual Search and Rescue Exercise

1 December 1999

A short range joint mountain and sea rescue demonstration organised by the Civil Aviation Department was successfully held at Hau Hok Wan, Lantau Island today (Wednesday).

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

It involved aerial search demonstration by a Z-9 helicopter from the Hong Kong Garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), winching demonstration of a simulated casualty in a stretcher by a HH-60 helicopter from the United States Air Force (USAF), followed by water winching demonstrations by a S-70 helicopter from the Government Flying Service (GFS) and another HH-60 helicopter from the USAF.

The Civil Aid Service (CAS) also took part by providing mountain rescue and casualty evacuation preparation from the hill side.

It was observed by more than 100 SAR experts. They included representatives from the Mainland, Macau, Thailand and Singapore, local observers from the CAS, the Hong Kong Police Force (Marine Region), the Fire Services Department (FSD) and a number of airlines.

Before the activation of this short range demonstation, the search and rescue aircraft involved in this year's SAREX were on display at the Hong Kong International Airport this morning.

They were two C-130 aircraft, one each from the USAF and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), one P-3 aircraft from the United States Navy (USN), two HH-60 helicopters from the USAF, and a Jetstream JS41 aircraft, S76 and H70 helicopters from the GFS. Also on display was the mountain rescue equipment by the CAS.

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

"It will be activated this evening, simulating an aircraft in distress about 100 nautical miles to the south of Hong Kong. A search vessel and several search aircraft 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.

This exercise will be participated by the Hong Kong Garrison of the PLA (Navy), the USAF, the USCG, the USN and the GFS.

SAREX 99 began yesterday and will last until December 3 (Friday).


CAD Hosted Search and Rescue Symposium

30 November 1999

The annual search and rescue exercise (SAREX) organised by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) kicked off today (Tuesday) with the launch of a Search and Rescue (SAR) Symposium.

"The SAR Symposium will help promote knowledge and experience sharing on SAR expertise and foster better understanding, cooperation and networking amongst SAR agencies," Mr Albert Lam, Director of Civil Aviation, said at the opening ceremony of the Symposium.

"Always Ready, That Others May Live is a motto for every SAR professional. With the spirit of this motto in mind, we learn to be always prepared and in readiness for all kinds of contingencies.

"In the unfortunate aircraft accident that occurred at the Hong Kong International Airport in August, despite adverse weather conditions, all our emergency resources responded spontaneously to the accident and accomplished their missions in a very professional manner.

"The well-trained skills and readiness of all emergency units involved had thus helped reduce the number of the fatalities and casualties in that tragedy to the minimum. This would not have been possible without adequate training and practice through drills and exercises," he said.

He added that in SAREX 99, all local and overseas SAR personnel, aircrew, as well as CAD's air traffic controllers would have the golden opportunity to update their SAR technique, share the valuable experience gained and be better equipped for any SAR mission when called for.

Speaking at the symposium today were representatives from the United States Coast Guard, the United States Air Force and the United States Navy. Officials from the CAD, the Government Flying Service, the Marine Department and the Hong Kong Police Force (Marine Region) also gave presentations.

SAREX will be held consecutively for four days until December 3. Apart from the Symposium, the exercise this year will consist of a static display of aircraft by the participating units, display of mountain rescue equipment by the CAS, a short range joint mountain and sea rescue demonstration at Hau Hok Wan, and a long range exercise in the South China Sea area.


Increased Passenger and Cargo Services Offered by Airlines

26 October 1999

Twenty-two more scheduled passenger and cargo services to and from Hong Kong will be offered by airlines in the winter season of 1999/00 (October 31, 1999 to March 25, 2000) as compared with the summer season (March 28 to October 30, 1999), bringing the total flight movements at Hong Kong International Airport to 3,200 per week.

"A total of 37 more scheduled passenger and cargo services will be offered in the new season, but 15 services will also be suspended, thus making the net increase to 22," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (Tuesday).

"Among the 37 increased scheduled services, 14 are new passenger services and nine are new cargo services, while 14 are resumed passenger services," he said.

Meanwhile, two new destinations will be added in the winter schedule of 1999/00. Cheju in South Korea will be served by passenger services, while Batam in Indonesia will be served by cargo services. The total number of destinations offered by passenger and cargo services from Hong Kong will thus be increased to 130.

"Moreover, there will be a new cargo carrier offered by Indonesia's Mandala Airlines. Starting from the new season, therefore, there will be a total of 65 passenger and cargo airlines serving between Hong Kong and different parts of the world," the spokesman added.


Aircraft Safety Not Compromised

22 October 1999

Aircraft safety has not been compromised because of the industrial action taken by line maintenance staff of HAECO, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (Friday).

"Airworthiness officers from the Civil Aviation Department conduct regular inspections on HAECO's maintenance work at the airport.

"We have also reminded HAECO to ensure that the standards of its maintenance work are maintained to the required regulatory standards to ensure safe operations of aircraft.

"Meanwhile, regular contacts are established with major airlines and they are requested to provide feedback to the Department if they experience any problems relating to HAECO's maintenance services. The Civil Aviation Department has not received any reports so far from the airlines. We will continue to watch developments closely," the spokesman said.


Investigation on China Southern Airlines CZ341 incident

18 October 1999

A joint investigation into the China Southern Airlines CZ341 incident which happened yesterday (October 17) is being carried out by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department, General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), and the China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd.

"The investigation covers mainly the operational, engineering and survivability aspects," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (Monday).

"Initial inspection of the aeroplane in Hong Kong has ruled out any mechanical or engineering problem, and the aeroplane departed Hong Kong to Guangzhou at 12.21 pm today without any passengers on board.

"Off-site investigation which includes crew and passengers interviews, collection of radar, air traffic control and meteorological information is proceeding," he added.

Meanwhile, the Digital Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder of the aeroplane have been sent to Beijing for retrieval of flight information.

It is estimated that the investigation will take about six to nine months to complete.


Flight safety

3 September 1999

In response to press enquiries on flight safety in the event of any closure or restrictions on the use of air routes in the Mainland, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department today (Friday) issued the following statement:

"In accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation provisions, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) unit in charge of the airspace concerned is responsible for the provision of air traffic control service. As a standard aviation practice, the ATC unit will notify the pilots concerned immediately on any closure or restrictions on the use of air routes. If an alternative routing is available, this will be offered to the pilot concerned.

"There is close liaison between the Hong Kong and the Mainland ATC units for flights operating between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Should there be restrictions on the use of Mainland air routes affecting flights departing from Hong Kong, the Mainland ATC unit will inform Hong Kong ATC immediately which will advise pilots and airlines with a view to ensuring flight safety."


The Airport commenced full dual runways operation

31 August 1999

The Hong Kong International Airport commenced full dual runways operation at 10 am today (Tuesday).

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said today that noise monitoring carried out by the department and Environmental Protection Department since the partial opening of the North Runway in May showed that actual aircraft noise levels in areas under the new flight paths conformed with those forecast in the earlier Environmental Impact Assessment.

"However, in view of public concern, CAD will continue to implement various noise mitigating measures so as to minimise the noise impact to residents under the flight paths, especially at night, provided that flight safety will not be compromised and the efficiency and capability of the airport will not be severely affected."

"As part of the measures, aircraft landing between midnight and 7 am will land from the southwest, subject to safety and acceptable weather conditions. Flight departing to the east between 11 pm and 7 am will use the southbound route over the West Lamma Channel, again subject to safety and operational considerations. These measures will help reduce the need for aircraft to overfly the populated districts."

"Experience in the past few months indicates that the above measures can apply to most flight during the periods concerned. The few exceptions were due to various operational reasons including prevailing wind conditions, maintenance and flight calibration of navigational aids, or air traffic conflict."

"In order to further reduce noise impact, aircraft departing to the east will adopt the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) noise abatement take-off procedures," the spokesman said.

"This measure will ensure when aircraft unavoidably do overfly populated areas they are at a higher altitude, thus reducing the level of noise impact to the community."

In addition, CAD is actively considering the possibility of bringing forward the ICAO programme in regard to the restriction on use of noisy aircraft (i.e. those which do not comply with the noise levels in Chapter 3 of ICAO Annex 16) between 11 pm and 7 am.


Preliminary on-site investigation of air crash accident completed

25 August 1999

The preliminary on-site investigation including surveying of the wreckage plot and taking of surface and aerial photographs of the air crash accident has been completed today (Wednesday).

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said, "The investigation team has passed the aircraft wreckage to the Airport Authority for removal from the scene."

"Off-site investigation which includes gathering of information from passengers, Airport Fire Contingent, Airport Police Contingent, Airport Police and others is proceeding."

"The Digital Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder were sent to United Kingdom last night. The investigation team is expecting to receive the data for analysis in about two weeks' time." the spokesman added.


Chek Lap Kok wind conditions on August 22

24 August 1999

In response to media enquiries about prevailing wind conditions at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday, August 22, a government spokesman said today (Tuesday) it was important to make a distinction between cross-winds and windshear.

The spokesman said that last Sunday evening strong northwesterly cross-winds were generally blowing across the runway at Hong Kong International Airport.

He pointed out that the wind conditions prevailing at the airport on the day were blowing in from the sea, and not from the direction of the nearby Lantau mountains.

The Hong Kong Observatory received no reports of windshear from pilots flying into and out of Hong Kong on the day.

The Hong Kong Observatory's sophisticated Windshear and Turbulence Warning System gave no warning of windshear at the time of the China Airlines crash, nor did Hong Kong Observatory staff who were specifically monitoring for that condition.

There were 11 landings in the two hours before the accident, the last one being just six minutes beforehand. There were six missed approaches and two diversions during the same period.

All pilots were fully informed by the Civil Aviation Department on prevailing weather conditions so they could decide whether to land or take off.

The spokesman emphasised that the potential problems of cross-wind, windshear and turbulence at the new airport were comprehensively studied as part of the selection of the site for the replacement airport.

The studies showed that the frequency of cross-wind occurrence and the usability of the airport during cross-winds were well inside the recommended guidelines by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The studies found that under cross-wind conditions, there was only a marginal difference in the usability of Kai Tak airport compared to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.

They concluded that Chek Lap Kok was operationally viable as an international airport in terms of windshear and turbulence.


Flight Data Recorders retrieved

24 August 1999

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) retrieved the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the wreckage in the aircraft accident at about 5 pm today (Tuesday).

"The two Recorders will be sent to the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the UK Department of Transport tonight," a spokesman for the CAD said.

"The wreckage is planned to be removed from the scene later tomorrow to a vacant site near to HK Aircraft Engineering Company's Hangar," he added.


Civil Aircraft Accident - Inspector's Investigation

23 August 1999

An Inspector's Investigation is being conducted into the cause of the accident which occurred on August 22, 1999 at Hong Kong International Airport to a MD-11 aircraft with registration B-150 and operated in the name of China Airlines, Taiwan.

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, 46th floor, Queensway Government Offices, Queensway, Hong Kong (Tel: 2867 4203; Fax: 2501 0640) within 14 days.


Financial Secretary's transcript

23 August 1999

The following is the transcript of a meet-the-media session by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, after visiting the aircraft accident scene at the Hong Kong International Airport today (Monday):

I have no plan to meet you, ladies and gentlemen, although I always relish this opportunity. I come here trying to gain some background information of the accident. It was such a serious accident and I hope that in addition to giving some morale pep talk to my colleagues, I was able to get hold of some of the background information so that in participating in discussions or, follow-up action, I would be able to do so meaningfully and usefully. As we know, this was a very serious accident, one of the worst in our aviation history. We feel very very sorry for those who have been injured and those two persons who died during the accident. We are giving medical attention to those who are injured and in this, we spare no effort. The Hospital Authority is doing its very best to look after them. For those who have died, I am very sorry and I send them my deepest condolences. At the same time, we hope that we would be able to help the families to get over this problem as soon as possible. One thing came very clear to our mind that the way in which the rescue operation was conducted, looking at the wreckage just now, I think it was sort of a miracle that however horrible that we have had sustained such an injury, for the number of people died and the extent of injuries involved is miraculously low. That must be the work of the rescue operation. We have seen how the Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Department, the Auxiliary Services and the Hospital Authority working very hard in this rescue operation, but the highest credit must go to our Fire Services Department which has done exceedingly well. As a member of the Civil Service, I am very proud of them. As a Hong Kong citizen, I think we are grateful to them for all their work. I hope they will continue their good work and make sure that Hong Kong has the safest airport to land and with the best emergency preparation arrangement to cope with incidents of this kind. Thank you very much.


Transcript of Chief Executive's media session at PMH

23 August 1999

Following is the English portion of the transcript of the media session by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, at the Princess Margaret Hospital this (Monday) morning after visiting people who were injured in the aircraft accident yesterday.

Reporter : What do you feel about the accident at Chek Lap Kok?

Mr Tung : Well, we are obviously saddened by the death and by the degree of those people who have been injured. It is something that all of us in the Government and all of us in Hong Kong, obviously, are very concerned about. But I would like to say that after the accident, the Government responded really, very very efficiently, whether it was the Police, whether it was the Airport Authority, whether it was our fire fighters, the Hospital Authority, all responded very, very quickly, in a very organised and very professional manner. And from that point of view, Hong Kong has been put to a test and I think we came through it. And none of us obviously want to see this sort of accident happened.

Reporter : Many passengers said that they were kept in the dark of what was happening. So, shouldn't the AA do something to inform the passengers?

Mr Tung : Could I ask the Airport Authority Chairman (Mr Victor Fung), may be, to respond to this and some of the other things?

Mr Fung : We ourselves have been also very concerned obviously about this incident. And ever since the incident started, I was at the airport myself to work closely together with our colleagues to actually handle the incident. And everything now has been taking care of as far as the rescue operations are concerned. We are now very concerned, obviously, about getting the passengers that are now at the airport on their ways. We will be concentrating on that. In terms of getting information to the passengers, we have kept the airlines immediately informed and through them we felt that that was the best way to keep the passengers informed.

Reporter : Why couldn't there be a public announcement of some sort?

Mr Fung : Well, the public announcement, I think really should come out when we have some ideas of when the airport will re-open. And as soon as we have actually handled the rescue operations and knew that the airport would be open by one o'clock, we immediately made the announcement.


Chief Executive's Statement on Air Accident

22 August 1999

The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, said today (Sunday) that he was deeply shocked by the tragic accident which occurred this evening, resulting in the death of two passengers and the injury of over 200 people on board an aircraft.

He sent his deepest regret and condolences to the family of the deceased. He hoped that those injured would recover soon.

The Chief Executive said the Director of Civil Aviation, as the Chief Inspector of Accidents, has already initiated a full investigation into the accident under the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations.


Airport To Resume Operation

22 August 1999

The Director of Civil Aviation and the Director of Fire Services have informed the Airport Authority that operations at the Hong Kong International Airport can resume with effect from 0100 local time.

The airport was closed at 1845 hours when an accident, involving China Airlines Flight CI642 arriving from Bangkok, occurred on the South Runway. Two passengers are confirmed dead and over 200 injured.

Chairman of the Airport Authority, Dr. Victor Fung Kwok-king, issued the following statement from Chek Lap Kok, "Our deepest sympathy goes out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy and their loved ones, and we wish the injured a very speedy recovery."

The Airport Authority has accorded top priority to the rescue operations. It will continue to work closely with relevant Government departments and parties involved to give all possible assistance to the passengers and crew affected.


Press release on CI642 accident on August 22

22 August 1999

An accident occurred on the south runway of the Hong Kong International Airport at 1845 hours today (Sunday), involving China Airlines, Flight CI 642, MD 11 aircraft with 300 passengers and 15 crew members. The aircraft arrived from Bangkok. Rescue services responded immediately and the airport is temporarily closed.

The priority is rescue work. At 2230 hours, 101 persons have been rescued uninjured, 208 passengers who have been injured to varying degrees are in hospitals. So far there are two fatalities and six passengers are still unaccounted for. When the rescue phase is completed, the next priority will be to reopen the airport. Further information will be made available as soon as possible.


CAD finishes investigation into ground incident of June 17

8 July 1999

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has conducted a detailed investigation into the ground incident of June 17, 1999 in which a China Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Singapore abandoned its take-off on the runway. It subsequently experienced hot brakes and five wheel tyres were deflated as a precautionary measure.

A CAD spokesman said today (Thursday) that investigation has been completed with causes identified.

"Although the investigation reveals that the controller concerned had a good record of performance and that this was an isolated incident resulting from an error committed by him in anxiety, the department attaches great importance to the need to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents in future," he said.

Measures taken by the department include :

- New standing instruction has been issued to remind controllers of the need to use correct callsigns at all times when air traffic control (ATC) clearances are transmitted to aircraft.

- Special briefings are being given to all controllers to reinforce this message.

- Periodic checks on radio transmissions will be conducted to ensure strict compliance.

- Guidance material has been provided to Tower Controllers to enhance their technique in the handling of aircraft hot brake incidents. The objective is to ensure that after an aircraft has applied the brakes heavily on the runway, sufficient time would be given for it to cool down its brakes before taxiing in order to minimise damage to the tyres.

- The controller concerned has been suspended from operational duties in the Control Tower. He will be assigned to work in the Air Traffic Control Centre where the work nature is less time-critical. Prior to performing solo duties, he will be required to undergo intensive simulator as well as on-the-job training under the supervision of qualified instructors before being checked out. Thereafter, his work will be closely monitored by his supervisors.

"The CAD has reviewed its ATC procedures and confirmed that they are operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The department has a well-structured and comprehensive training programme for ATC staff. In addition, a stringent proficiency checking system is in place. To further improve its services, it will continue to place importance on the enhancement of ATC operations and additional training requirements. The CAD is committed to provide a safe, orderly and efficient air traffic control service to aircraft operating in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

The following summarises the findings of the investigation:

At about 4.28 pm on June 17, 1999, when an Airbus (CI665) was given permission to take off on Runway 07R, a following Air China Boeing 737(CA1074) from Hong Kong to Shijiazhuang was also approaching the runway for departure. Having assessed that the next arriving aircraft was still some eight nautical miles from the runway, the Tower Controller allowed CA1074 to enter the runway behind CI665 with an intention to release both departures before the arrival of the next aircraft. The approaching aircraft was an Airbus A320 which had departed Hong Kong for Phnom Penh but returning due to a minor electrical problem. As the aircraft was number one in the approach sequence, it was allowed to fly at its own speed.

However, when CI665 commenced its take-off roll, the Tower Controller found that the arriving aircraft was approaching the runway at a relatively high speed and the time available would not be sufficient to release CA1074. The previous assessment of the traffic situation was therefore inaccurate. He then decided to change his plan and stop CA1074 short of the runway. Because of anxiety, the Tower Controller used the callsign of CI665 in error in his transmission. He realised this immediately but did not have time to amend the instruction as CI665 had reacted promptly and discontinued with the take-off roll.

On receiving the Tower Controller's "Cancel line up, hold position" instruction, CI665 abandoned the take-off at once before reaching its take-off decision speed. Although the "Cancel line up" instruction was not strictly applicable to CI665, "hold position" was too serious for the pilot to ignore. Under the demanding real time situation, the pilot's decision to abandon the take-off was understandable. The aircraft had attained a speed of 140 knots and the take off decision speed for the flight was 165 knots. The aborted take-off was safely executed.

After CI665 had vacated the runway, the aircraft was permitted to taxi for another departure as there was no indication from the pilot that holding was required. On reaching the holding point, the pilot reported that there were three flat tyres due to high brake temperature. When the ground engineers arrived, it was discovered that five tyres were deflated automatically by the built-in safety device. Eventually, all eight wheel tyres and brake assemblies were replaced before the aircraft was released for service. In hindsight, the tower controller could have been more inquisitive in respect of the hot brake situation so as to assist the pilot to cool down the brakes as much as possible.


Ground Incident - CI665

19 June 1999

On June 17, 1999, at approximately 4.28 pm, China Airlines flight CI665, an Airbus A300 from Hong Kong to Singapore, discontinued its take-off and subsequently had experienced hot brakes and some of its tyres were deflated.

Preliminary investigation revealed that when CI665 was given permission to take off, another flight Air China CA1074, a B737 from Hong Kong to Shijiazhuang was approaching the runway for departure. With the next arriving aircraft still some eight nautical miles from the runway, the Tower Controller cleared CA1074 to enter the runway behind CI665.

As there was a slight delay in CI665 in commencing take-off roll, and with the next landing aircraft five nautical miles away, the Tower Controller decided to withold CA1074 from departure and intended to instruct CA1074 not to enter the runway and to hold position. However, the callsign of CI665 was used in error in his transmission. The pilot of CI665 decided to discontinue its take off roll.

After CI665 vacated the runway, five main wheel tyres were deflated automatically due to high temperature, which is a built-in safety precaution. Eventually, all eight main wheel tyres and brake assemblies were replaced before the aircraft was released for service to ensure safe operation.

A Civil Aviation Department (CAD) spokesman said today (Saturday), "CAD is very concerned about the incident. While a detailed investigation is still being conducted with results to be released in two weeks' time, immediate remedial actions have been taken. The subject controller has been suspended from duty and reminders have been issued to all controllers to ensure correct callsigns are used at all times in radio instructions to aircraft.


International Civil Aviation Organisation Meeting

1 March 1999

The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) is hosting the five-day International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 7th South East Asia Air Traffic Service Co-ordination Group (SEACG) Meeting from today (Monday) to Friday at the Air Traffic Control Complex of the Hong Kong International Airport.

At the opening address, Director of Civil Aviation, Mr Albert K Y LAM, said the meeting aimed to provide a forum for discussion and review of the existing air traffic control communication procedures within the South East Asia region. Through this meeting, problems affecting the provision of air traffic services in the area will be identified and practical solutions will be worked out to overcome such problems.

In addition to the ICAO and HK CAD delegations, state delegations from Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and representatives from International Federation of Airline Pilot Association (IFALPA), SITA Air-Ground Services, International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Federation of Air Traffic Controller Association (IFATCA) are participating in the meeting.