- Hong Kong's level of
terrorist incidents remains low, (11 December 2002)
11 December 2002
The Hong Kong Police's assessment shows that the level of terrorist threat against Hong Kong remains low, said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Tsang Yam-pui, yesterday (December 10).
Speaking during an exercise codenamed Exercise Bowdler to test Police response and capability in handling a terrorist incident, Mr Tsang said that in dealing with terrorism, the Hong Kong Police Force's responsibility was three-fold.
He noted: "The first part of our responsibility is to do with collection of intelligence and information, exchange of information with overseas law enforcement agencies and then based on the information we have received, we assess Hong Kong's threat level.
"In reality, our assessment of Hong Kong's threat level is that it remains low."
The second part of the Police's responsibility is to put in place contingency plans for the protection of sensitive buildings, installations and personalities in Hong Kong.
The third part is to ensure that in the unlikely event that a terrorist incident takes place in Hong Kong, Police are able to provide a professional and effective response to it.
Mr Tsang pointed out that Exercise Bowdler aimed to test only the third part of the responsibility.
As the incident has occurred at the Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport, the concerned Police units participating in the exercise will be tested on whether they fully comply with the Commissioner's laid down orders and instructions relating to this kind of incidents.
The main objectives of Exercise Bowdler are:
- Test the overall Police Force's response to a terrorist incident at the airport;
- Test inter-departmental cooperation at the airport during a terrorist incident;
- Test command, control and communications;
- Test call out procedures for specialist units;
- Test the capability of investigative units in dealing with such an incident;
- Test evacuation procedures;
- Test hostage handling procedures, and
- Test all other procedures in the aftermath of a possible attack on the terrorists, including hostage relief, casualty management and the like.
There are two phases in Exercise Bowdler.
The first phase took place on December 6 (Friday) at the Auxiliary Police Headquarters where a simulated incident of a suspected bomb was found in a very crowded bar called Pink Parrot Bar with a lot of expatriate customers.
The Police units responding to the incident foiled what was considered to be a bombing attack on the bar by rendering the bomb safe.
"Subsequent Police enquiries established this to be the work of terrorists," said Mr Tsang.
Police were dealing with the second phase of Exercise Bowdler yesterday.
A 747 passenger aircraft arrived from a small country in the Middle East in transit to New Zealand.
When all the passengers and crew had just been unloaded and were being taken by vetter buses to the Airport Terminal, some 45 passengers who were travelling on one of the vetter buses were hijacked by four Middle Eastern passengers from the same plane with three of them possessing firearms.
It was heard that one of the hijackers noted that Hong Kong had to pay for stopping the bombing of Pink Parrot Bar.
The hijackers have rejected all attempts by Police to communicate with them, and the vetter bus has been taken by the hijackers to the Central Works Area of the airport.
The Police Incident Control Centre at the airport has been activated, and so has the Headquarters Command and Control Centre.
The Chief Executive Security Committee which has been notionally activated hold a number of meetings and has given a steer for Police to continue the attempt to establish communication with the hijackers and to take executive action where appropriate.
Police enquiries have established the identities of the hijackers who are known to belong to a known terrorist organisation based in the Middle East and thus the incident has been classified as an act of terrorism.
Police cordons have been set up around the vetter bus and all the units including the Special Duties Unit and those which may be required to take action at the later stages of Exercise Bowdler are already standing by the airport.
Also participating in the exercise are the Fire Services Department, Customs and Exercise Department, Immigration Department, Civil Aviation Department, Airport Authority and personnel of Cathay Pacific Airways, and a total of some 1 400 police and personnel from other organisations are taking part in the exercise.
Police have also invited senior personnel from the People's Liberation Army Garrison, Guangdong Public Security Bureau and Macau Police to attend as observers.
1 November 2002
Premier Zhu Rongji and Madam Lao An left Hong Kong this afternoon (November 20) after a three-day visit to the territory.
They were seen off at the airport by Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa and Mrs Betty Tung; the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang; Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung and Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung.
Shortly before their departure, Premier Zhu and Madam Lao An visited one of the largest and busiest air cargo facilities in the world.
At SuperTerminal 1, Premier Zhu was briefed on the operation and handling capacity of HACTL by its Managing Director, Mr Anthony Wong.
The Chairman of the Airport Authority, Dr Victor Fung also briefed Premier Zhu on developments of Hong Kong International Airport.
The Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr Albert Lam informed Premier Zhu about various aspects of air traffic control in managing in-coming and out-going flights in the region.
Before boarding the aircraft, Premier Zhu and Madam Lao An walked through the busy passenger terminal where they were warmly greeted by passengers and shop staff.
Earlier this morning Premier Zhu Rongji and Madam Lao An went on a harbour cruise to see several major infrastructure projects and economic enterprises that form an important aspect of Hong Kong's logistic developments.
1 November 2002
Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation said today (November 1) that a robust and mature Safety Management System (SMS) with attainable objectives, clear individual accountability, thorough documentations, effective assurance and promotion strategies together with highly experienced aviation personnel is pivotal to the well being of the aviation industry.
Speaking at the Asia Pacific Aviation Management Roundtable, Mr Lam commented that effective management of safety in civil aviation should be proactive rather than reactive. At the 33rd Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly held last year, it was resolved that States should ensure that SMSs are introduced at their aerodromes by aerodrome operators and in their airspaces by air traffic services providers.
"SMS is an important milestone in the advancement of civil aviation. It is a safety tool used to systematically manage risks associated with aviation activities. It represents the application of sound business practices whose major objective is to improve organisational safety. It comprises a formalised organisational safety system, which emanates at the highest level of management and reaches into all departments of the organisation whose activities contribute to safety performance.
"Our SMS is formulated with the above objective in mind. It represents a major step towards the achievement of one of the key business goals of my Department - the enhancement of safety performance through best practices and to move beyond mere compliance with regulatory requirements," Mr Lam said.
He explained that the demand for a high level of performance from Civil Aviation Department (CAD) could be viewed from two perspectives, as regulator of civil aviation operations and as provider of air traffic services.
"With respect to airport operations, it is one of my duties to regulate the safety aspects of these operations through the issue of an aerodrome licence to the operator of the airport. Regular meetings and continuous review of all airport safety management matters form part of this regulatory process. As part of the review, audits and inspections of airfield operational and maintenance activities are performed on a regular basis," Mr Lam said.
In overseeing the safety performance of commercial air transport operations, CAD adopts a very similar approach.
"All airline operators and maintenance organisations are required to demonstrate the existence of a sound SMS through which the risks associated with flight operations, related ground operations and aircraft engineering and maintenance activities are controlled and reduced to the lowest possible level. The activities of Air Operator's Certificate holders are monitored through regular station audit, in-flight inspections and checking of training and operational records," Mr Lam added.
As provider of air traffic services, CAD staff ensure that the level of air traffic services, communications, navigation and surveillance as well as the applicable procedures are appropriate and adequate for maintaining a high level of safety. These requirements are also reflected in the regional air navigation agreements to facilitate the harmonisation of air traffic services with adjacent airspace.
On the other hand, air traffic controllers are required to undergo annual qualification revalidation examinations to ensure that a high standard of proficiency at work is maintained. They are also submitted to regular refresher training programs and simulator training. Equipment for communication, navigation, surveillance and other safety significant systems are tested and calibrated regularly. Comprehensive back up plans are also formulated to cater for possible performance failures or degradations.
"Achieving sustained safety performance is based upon sound organisation-wide safety culture. Sound safety management is a never-ending process. It is only through this process of methodical active involvement that our mutual goal of sustainable progress in safety management can be assured in air traffic control, aerodrome operations, commercial air transport operations and compliance with airworthiness standards.
"A comprehensive SMS will be the vehicle to drive the aviation community towards the development needed to be successful in the ICAO audit programme and to meet, or even better, to exceed the growing demands and challenges of increasing traffic density and complexity," Mr Lam concluded.
31 October 2002
A total of 115 more scheduled passenger and cargo services are operated to and from Hong Kong on a weekly basis in the Winter Season of 2002/03 (October 27, 2002 to March 29, 2003), representing a growth of about five per cent over the preceding Summer Season, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (October 31).
In the new season, 190 new scheduled passenger and cargo services are offered per week, but 75 services are also cancelled, thus making a net increase of 115. Most of the additional passenger services operate between Hong Kong and Taiwan following the conclusion of a new arrangement by the concerned airline operators in June. There are also major increases of scheduled services to destinations in Australia and New Zealand, notably Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.
As regards cargo services, more than half of the additional services are operated to ports in the United States, including Anchorage and New York.
Two passenger carriers operate scheduled services to and from Hong Kong in the new season. Starting from October 27, Turkish Airlines provides twice weekly services between Istanbul and Hong Kong via Bangkok. Services between Cairns and Hong Kong will be offered by Australian Airlines three times a week beginning November 22. A new destination, Boston, is also added to the route network of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) by Continental Airlines.
A total of 72 airlines now offer scheduled passenger and cargo services from Hong Kong to over 130 destinations worldwide. With the additional number of scheduled services offered by airlines, the total number of flight movements at the HKIA has increased to more than 4,100 per week.
1 June 2002
The Government announced today (June 1) that the Chief Executive has made the following reappointments to the Airport Authority under the Airport Authority Ordinance:
(a) Dr Victor FUNG Kwok-king as Chairman of the Airport Authority for the period from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2005;
(b) Miss Maria TAM Wai-chu, GBS, JP
as members of the Airport Authority for the period from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2005; and
(c) Secretary for Economic Services
as members of the Airport Authority for the period from June 1, 2002 to June 30, 2002.
25 May 2002
The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, is deeply saddened to learn about the tragic accident involving flight CI611. He expresses concern that a number of Hong Kong residents are reported to be involved in the accident. He also extends condolences to the families of the victims involved in the accident.
Our Immigration Department, Civil Aviation Department and the Airport Authority are working closely together to render whatever assistance necessary to the families and friends in Hong Kong of all those affected.
25 May 2002
The Civil Aviation Department received confirmation at 7 pm that a China Airlines Boeing 747 flight CI 611, which departed from Taipei to Hong Kong at 3.08 pm, had crashed into the sea, the acting Director General of Civil Aviation, Mr Norman Lo, said today (May 25).
Mr Lo said the Hong Kong air traffic control center was informed by the Taipei air traffic control at 3.42 pm that it had lost contact with the plane when the aircraft was within Taiwan air space.
He said: "The Hong Kong SAR Government stands ready to offer assistance in search and rescue operation, though the Taipei authorities have indicated that assistance from Hong Kong was not necessary."
The Immigration Department is operating two 24-hour hotlines 2829 3010, 2829 3071 to offer help for families and friends of Hong Kong passengers on board the flight.
According to the China Airlines, initial reports indicated that of the 206 passengers on board the plane, five - four males and one female - were Hong Kong residents.
10 May 2002
More than 2,100 dangerous goods and restricted articles are intercepted from air passengers every day at the Hong Kong International Airport. These items pose a threat to aviation safety and security and have to be removed, Mr George Chao, Assistant Director-General of Civil Aviation (Airport Standards) said today (May 10).
With the support of the aviation and travel industries, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) is now launching a Dangerous Goods and Restricted Articles Awareness Programme to enhance public awareness on the prohibition of the carriage of such items on board aircraft. Under this programme, publicity leaflets are distributed to travellers and members of the public, more information on the subject is posted on the CAD web site, and an educational video is shown at tea gatherings of travel groups and other selected venues. Three booths are also set up at the Departure Level of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to show the educational video and to display the dangerous goods and restricted articles samples.
"It is an offence to take forbidden dangerous goods on board an aircraft. The law restricts the type and quantity of dangerous goods allowed to be carried by passengers, because they can be a danger in flight due to temperature and pressure difference. In fact, many dangerous goods can be shipped as cargo if properly prepared," Mr Chao explained.
The dangerous goods commonly found inside baggage at HKIA include 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. Most of these items have to be removed because they can pose a significant risk to health, safety or property when transported by air. A few may be taken onboard with restrictions applied.
As far as restricted articles are concerned, passengers are not allowed to carry knife, knife-like object and bladed item in the aircraft cabin and within the enhanced security restricted area of HKIA with effect from September 28, 2001 for enhancement of security. The restriction has been recently revised to allow the carriage of nail clippers (excluding nail file) less than 6 cm long, round-ended nail files, and round-ended scissors with blade less than 5 cm long.
"Since some air passengers are still unaware of the restriction and carry with them bladed item and pointed nail files in their hand-carry bags, it is of importance that the relevant message is promulgated by showing video and displaying samples, etc at HKIA. Passengers can put those items in their check-in baggage if they need to carry them.
"This can help to minimise delay and inconvenience for passengers caused in connection with the interception of dangerous goods and restricted articles," Mr Chao said, reiterating the need for air passengers to observe the requirements.
24 April 2002
The People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong (PLA) joined with the Government Flying Service (GFS) during a short range search and rescue (SAR) demonstration organised by the Civil Aviation Department at Hau Hok Wan, Lantau Island today (April 24).
"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 nine units participated in the SAREX this year," a spokesman for the Department said.
Today's exercise involved aerial search demonstration by a Z9 helicopter from the PLA, followed by water winching demonstrations by an Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L2 helicopter from the GFS, which is one of the new aircraft acquired by the GFS to greatly enhance its capability as an Emergency Response Service provider.
The demonstration was observed by more than 100 SAR experts. They included representatives from the Mainland, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and local observers from the Airport Authority Hong Kong, the Civil Aid Service, the Fire Services Department (FSD), the Hong Kong Police Force (Marine Region) and a number of airlines.
Before the activation of this short range demonstation, the SAR aircraft involved in this year's SAREX were on display at the Hong Kong International Airport this morning. They included a C130 aircraft from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), as well as a Jetstream J-41 aircraft, an Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L2 helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter and a S-70 (Black Hawk) helicopter from the GFS. Also on display was the rescue and emergency equipment of the FSD.
"As part of the annual event, a long range SAR exercise will be held tomorrow (April 25) to test the alerting procedures, coordination and communication facilities of the various participants.
"It will be activated this evening, simulating a hot air ballon in distress about 80 nautical miles to the south of Hong Kong. A PLA 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.
Apart from the PLA, this exercise will also be participated by the USCG and the GFS.
SAREX 2002 began yesterday and will last until April 26 (Friday).
5 April 2002
A total of 115 more scheduled passenger and cargo flight frequencies are operated to and from Hong Kong on a weekly basis in the Summer Season of 2002 (March 31 to October 26), representing a growth of about five per cent over the preceding Winter Season, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (April 5).
In the new season, 208 new scheduled passenger and cargo flight frequencies are offered per week, but 93 frequencies are also cancelled, thus making a net increase of 115. Most of the additional passenger services operate between Hong Kong and cities in the Mainland, such as Guangzhou and Shanghai. Most of the flights cancelled, on the other hand, are to and from Asia region due to seasonal demand or airlines' marketing strategies.
When compared with last summer, there are a total of six new destinations in this season, namely Sapporo in Japan, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Helsinki in Finland, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Pusan in Seoul, and Las Vegas in the United States. These destinations have been or will be added to the route network of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Scheduled passenger services to Sapporo and Riyadh are operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, Pusan by Korean Air and Las Vegas by Singapore Airlines. For services to Helsinki and Addis Ababa, they are operated by two new passenger carriers, Finnair and Ethiopian Airlines respectively. A new scheduled cargo carrier, Pacific East Asia Airlines, provides services between Hong Kong and Clark in Philippines in the new season.
At present, a total of 68 airlines offer scheduled passenger and cargo services from Hong Kong to over 130 destinations worldwide. With the additional number of scheduled services offered by airlines, the total number of flight movements at the HKIA has increased to more than 3,900 per week. Effective from March 31, the number of flights that can be handled by air traffic controllers per hour has gone up from 47 to 49 during certain peak hours to accommodate the higher volume of traffic.
19 March 2002
Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (March 19) presented the first Hong Kong Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) issued after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to a new helicopter company. An AOC is required for flying an aircraft registered in Hong Kong for the purpose of public transport.
The new AOC was issued to CR Airways Limited, which is the third commercial helicopter operator in Hong Kong. It plans to provide non-scheduled passenger services within the Pearl River Delta region using a Sikorsky S76C+ helicopter.
Other services provided by the company include medical evacuation, sightseeing and tour service, and offshore engineering staff commuter support.
Its operating and maintenance base is the Business Aviation Centre at the Hong Kong International Airport.
The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) received an AOC application from the company on June 30, 2001. The helicopter arrived in Macao in December 2001 for re-assembly and a Certificate of Airworthiness was issued by CAD on January 30, 2002 after tight scrutiny by the Department.
Following the approval of the relevant Manuals/Maintenance Schedule/Flight Test Schedule and the conducting of inspections of its facilities and route proving flights to ensure its fulfillment of the Department's requirements, an AOC was granted to CR Airways on March 16. CAD is satisfied that CR Airways has demonstrated compliance with all the relevant legal requirements and is considered competent to secure the safe operation of the Sikorsky S76C+ helicopter.
CAD will continue to monitor compliance with the established airworthiness and operational standards by the new operator through a combined programme of inspections.
With the issue of a new AOC to CR Airways, there are altogether seven holders of Hong Kong AOC at present. The other six are Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited, Air Hong Kong Limited, Heliservices (Hong Kong) Limited, Metrojet Limited, and Helicopters Hong Kong Limited.
17 March 2002
A record high of flight movements at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is expected to be achieved on March 29, Good Friday, when 653 aircraft are scheduled to arrive and depart.
"The number of flight movements expected on Good Friday represents an increase of more than 15 per cent when compared with an average of 560 movements a day," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said today (March 17).
As at today, 20 airlines have expressed interest to operate a total of 203 additional scheduled and ad-hoc charter flights (i.e. a total of 406 flight movements) from March 25 to April 7, with most applications falling on the period between March 29 (Good Friday) and April 1 (Easter Monday). The number of total flight movements on the first and the last days of the period are expected to be 653 and 619 respectively.
Airlines that have expressed interest plan to operate flights to 13 destinations in the Mainland, 10 destinations in Northeast Asia and nine destinations in Southeast Asia. Taipei is the most popular destination, followed by Shanghai and Phuket.
"The total number of additional flight slot requests represents about 10 per cent increase over last year's Easter holidays. This is indeed a very encouraging news," the spokesman said.
The previous record high of flight movements in a single day occurred on January 24, 2001, which was the Lunar New Year's Day. A total of 645 flight movements took place at the HKIA on that day.
28 February 2002
Following is the full text of the speech by Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr Albert Lam at the Meet-the-Media Session today (February 28):
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for attending this session on the review of the major work of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) in 2001. I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the plans of my Department this year.
2. 2001 was an exceptionally challenging year to the aviation industry. In Hong Kong, the labour dispute between the pilots of Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (CPA) and the company management caused some flight schedule disruptions and inconvenience to air passengers from July to October. In the USA, the September 11 attacks which used civil aircraft as a weapon resulted in the loss of many lives and had a global impact on air transportation. Not only did the event raise major security concerns, it also had adverse impact on the confidence of the public in air travel. On the other hand, airlines experienced a very tough year because of the worldwide economic downturn. However, with the passing of the worst time, it is expected that a resumption of growth in air traffic at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will occur in the second half of 2002.
3. Stringent security measures had already been in place at HKIA before the occurrence of the September 11 incident. Following the tragic event, CAD requested the concerned parties to step up aviation security and help restore confidence in air travel.
4. In the last few months, my Department worked closely with the Airport Authority (AA), airlines, Tenant Restricted Area operators, the Aviation Security Company (AVESCO) and various government law enforcement agencies to implement increased security measures at HKIA, including secondary search of passengers and their carry-on bags, increasing vigilance, patrol and guarding, etc. Security Directives were issued to prohibit the carriage of knives or bladed items into the airport restricted area and the aircraft cabin.
5. Meanwhile, CAD liaised with foreign aviation authorities, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the USA in particular, to exchange security related information and help airlines to carry out additional security measures such as random physical searches of check-in baggage, passengers, their hand luggage and shoes at the boarding gates at HKIA as required by their respective authorities.
6. In October 2001, CAD mandated the locked cockpit door policy for CPA and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited (HDA). Passenger access into the cockpit during flight has since been prohibited. Last month, CAD officials attended a Conference on Cockpit Security in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia organised by the FAA. The FAA indicated that it was their expectation that all foreign carriers operating into the USA would comply with the FAA rules, which require two phases of implementation. The first phase, to be in place by mid-March 2002, mandates either the placing of a bar across the inside of the cockpit door, or bolts located on the inside of the cockpit door, and either system being controlled by the pilots. The second phase, to be in place by April 9, 2003, requires further reinforcement of the cockpit door. The two phases will require the development of various security procedures for flight deck access and additional procedures in the event of emergency evacuation. Subsequent to the meeting, CAD issued a new Flight Operations Notice which defined the latest FAA regulations regarding the strengthening and locking of the cockpit door on all passenger aircraft flying into the USA, and further mandated the CAD locked cockpit door procedures, including requiring the door locking mechanism to be secure to the extent that tempering with the lock or door handle from the passenger cabin does not unlock the door.
7. On February 19 and 20, a HKSAR team led by myself participated in a High-Level Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada as part of the People's Republic of China delegation. The objectives of the Conference were to prevent, combat and eradicate acts of terrorism involving civil aviation. As a result of the meeting, the responsibility of the Contracting States to provide aviation security for their territories was reaffirmed, and an ICAO plan of action for strengthening aviation security, including the establishment of a security audit programme was endorsed. The Conference adopted a financial and human resource plan for the purpose, identified resources for remedial action in Contracting States, and obtained specified commitments by governments, international organisations and industry to implement the programme. In addition, the Conference also reviewed the mechanisms for the identification and analysis of new, emerging and potential threats to civil aviation and examined the progress on strengthening both Annex 17 - Security - Safeguarding International Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful Interference to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and security-related provisions of other Annexes to the Convention.
8. CAD will continue to work with all parties concerned to ensure that the high standard of security at HKIA are maintained and if necessary, strengthened by implementing new ICAO requirements such as those relating to enhancement of quality control and certification of security screeners, participating in ICAO security related activities including the Aviation Security Panel and working group activities, as well as hosting a seminar on aviation security for the Asia Pacific Region in May. On behalf of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), CAD will also conduct a survey and study on the region's security training requirements and capabilities as well as hosting a conference/workshop on the screening of passenger baggage.
Air Traffic at HKIA
9. Despite the weakening demand in air travel due to the global economic downturn and the impact of the September 11 incident, there was only a slight decrease in passenger throughput at HKIA in 2001. A total of 33.1 million passengers were handled at HKIA in 2001, a decrease of 0.9 per cent when compared with 2000. Air cargo, however, was more seriously affected by the slowdown in the trade environment. HKIA handled a total of 2.1 million tonnes of cargo in 2001, a drop of 7.4 per cent. The shrinkage was due mainly to the slowdown in economic growth in the USA and Europe and the economic contraction in Taiwan and Japan. Annual aircraft movements, however, amounted to 196,800, i.e. a 8.2 per cent increase despite the downturn in passenger and cargo traffic. This reflects the increasing use of smaller passenger aircraft at HKIA and the overall decrease in aircraft load factor. According to the preliminary traffic figures for 2001 released by ICAO, world passenger and freight traffic in terms of passenger-kilometres and tonne-kilometres decreased by 5 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. The performance of HKIA, therefore, still compares favourably with that of other airports in the world.
10. In 2001, HKIA was ranked number one in international air cargo, number five in international passengers (after London Heathrow, Paris Charles De-Gaulle, Frankfurt and Amsterdam), and number one in international network in Asia Pacific (serving some 130 destinations including about 40 points in the Mainland).
11. The runway capacity at HKIA was increased from 45 to 47 movements per hour in March 2001 to accommodate increased demand in traffic whilst maintaining the highest level of safety and efficiency.
12. With the accession of China into the World Trade Organisation, the anticipated recovery of the economy in the USA as well as the various development strategies implemented by the HKSARG and AA to enhance the competitive edge of HKIA, the outlook for the growth in aviation in Hong Kong remains positive. It is forecast that the resumption of growth in air traffic at HKIA will occur in the second half of 2002.
13. In line with the Government and AA's plan to develop HKIA into a major aviation hub, CAD will ensure that there will be adequate runway capacity available to meet traffic growth. Subject to traffic demand and a feasibility study, the runway capacity may be further increased to 50 movements per hour.
14. As CAD is the authority issuing Aerodrome Licence to AA to manage and operate HKIA, we continue close monitoring of the safety and security standards adopted by AA in respect of HKIA to ensure that all aerodrome licensing requirements are fully met.
15. On airport facilitation matters, CAD officials attended the Third ICAO Facilitation Panel Meeting held in Montreal, Canada in February 2001, and coordinated inputs in respect of compliance with the Standards and Recommended Practices of ICAO Annex 9. With increasing traffic at HKIA, it is essential that all facilitation matters at the airport be well coordinated. CAD will increase coordination and monitoring of airport facilitation matters for compliance with the Standards and Recommended Practices laid down in ICAO Annex 9, and in accordance with the Government policy.
Aircraft Operations and Maintenance
16. Hong Kong would not have been able to maintain its status as a major international and regional aviation center without the long-standing support of the many international airlines serving Hong Kong. In the 2001/02 Winter Season (i.e from October 28, 2001 to March 30, 2002), four new scheduled passenger carriers commenced services at HKIA. They are Cebu Pacific Air (from November 22, 2001), Ethiopian Airlines (from January 1, 2002), Orient Thai Airlines (from February 1, 2002), and Finnair (from February 7, 2002). Some airlines also operate to new destinations, namely Addis Ababa (by Ethiopian Airlines), Helsinki (by Finnair), and Sapporo and Riyadh (by CPA).
17. Delivery of new aircraft, which requires certification by CAD's Flight Standards and Airworthiness Division, increased by 17 per cent last year as compared with the previous year. There were more than 20 new aircraft registered in Hong Kong in 2001, with 14 and five of them acquired by CPA and HDA respectively. This year, CPA will bring in two new A340-600 aircraft, while HDA plans to add five aircraft to its fleet - one A320, one A321, two A330s and one B747 freighter. The introduction of new aircraft and services reflects Hong Kong airlines' confidence in the economy.
18. A new operator, Jet Aviation Business Jets (HK) Limited, plans to use its Bombardier Global Express BD700 (long range business jet aircraft) for public transport operation later this year.
19. As prescribed by ICAO, aircraft registered in Hong Kong are regulated by Hong Kong CAD. This implies that aircraft registered in Hong Kong must be maintained by maintenance organisations approved by Hong Kong CAD. Likewise, other ICAO states apply similar ruling. Under a new scheme, with the mutual recognition of aircraft airworthiness and maintenance standards among civil aviation authorities, an aircraft component maintenance organisation when approved by one of the civil aviation authorities, will then be recognised by the other civil aviation authorities as an acceptable source for aircraft components to be installed on their registered aircraft without carrying out individual technical investigations and approvals. The scheme will be implemented as a pioneer project amongst CAD, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and the Civil Aviation Authority of Macao in May 2002. This mutual acceptance scheme will allow local air operators to have more flexibility in selecting their maintenance contractors which are located in the Mainland and Macao, without requiring the contractors to apply for direct approvals from CAD. Such acceptance will also enhance the overall safety, standard and efficiency in the region through international cooperation.
20. CAD also continues to monitor the helicopter and other fixed-wing aircraft operations in Hong Kong. The Government Flying Service started its fleet replacement programme in the last quarter of 2001, while the local helicopter operators have plans to expand their fleet. A new helicopter operator, CR Airways Limited will start its operations by introducing one Sikorsky S76C+ helicopter.
21. The expansion of the Hong Kong aviation industry necessitates additional inspections and monitoring to ensure that the respective operations comply with the regulatory requirements in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
22. At present, Hong Kong offers both domestic helicopter services and cross-boundary helicopter flights to and from Macao. Domestic services are operated for a variety of purposes such as sightseeing, aerial survey, filming/photography, and maintenance/construction work, etc. In 2001, a total of 4,363 domestic flights were operated, averaging about 12 per day. As regards helicopter services between Hong Kong and Macao, 18,382 flights with a passenger throughput of 107,696 were recorded, representing increases of 5.4 per cent and 14 per cent respectively when compared with 2000. It is also worth to note that between 1995 and 2001, the number of helicopter passengers between Hong Kong and Macao increased from 37,469 to 107,696, a significant growth of some 187 per cent.
23. While the operation of helicopter services is a commercial decision, it is the Government's policy to facilitate the development of such services. Specific measures taken by CAD to assist the development of helicopter services include the provision of technical advice to helicopter operations especially on safety issues, and regular review of air traffic procedures to enhance the efficiency of helicopter operations.
24. Hong Kong's expanding economic and sociological ties with the Pearl River Delta Region will call for enhanced transport links. In this regard, helicopter services will play a role and further development of the services may require additional heliport facilities in the urban area. CAD therefore embarked on a consultancy study in April 2001 to assess the demand for helicopter services between Hong Kong and the Mainland/Macao, as well as the demand for domestic helicopter services; establish the need for new heliport facilities in the urban area and the corresponding economic costs and benefits; evaluate the shortlisted heliport sites and identify the best option for heliport development in the urban area; and formulate a comprehensive plan for the development, funding and future management of any new heliport.
25. The study is approaching the final stages and its findings will assist us in considering how to facilitate the development of helicopter services in future years.
Air Carriage of Dangerous Goods
26. In line with the new ICAO Annex 18 requirements for individual countries/administrations to provide dangerous goods (DG) information to passengers about the types of goods which are forbidden to be carried on board aircraft, CAD is now conducting a DG Awareness Programme to educate the travelling public. Starting off with the hosting of a DG seminar to strengthen airlines' knowledge in identifying and screening DG inside baggage in May 2001, we then produced information leaflets in the second half of last year. In January 2002, a video was produced and is now being shown by travel agents at the tourist group tea gatherings. The video will also be screened very soon at a display booth at the departure hall of HKIA to heighten the DG awareness of the travelling public. Commonly found DG items inside passenger baggage and the small amount of DG items which are exempted for the carriage by passengers will also be shown at the display booth.
Air Traffic Control Operations
27. Under the auspices of ICAO, the airspace and air route structure over the South China Sea was reorganised on November 1, 2001 with the objective of enhancing the efficiency and quality of ATC service in the region. A shorter new air route has been established between Hong Kong and Bangkok and the flying time between the two cities has been reduced by approximately 10 minutes. The transition to the new airspace structure was smooth and the operation of the revised air route system has been satisfactory.
28. As part of the initiative to further optimise airspace utilisation by reducing the vertical separation standard between suitably equipped aircraft flying at altitudes above 29,000 feet, Hong Kong will implement Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) in October 2002. The new standard will enable more efficient aircraft operations, achieve better fuel economy and help to minimise ground delay. Sufficient training on the new procedures will be provided to air traffic controllers before the implementation of RVSM.
29. All ATC systems continue to function properly with equipment availability well exceeding our performance pledge of 99.9 per cent. With further experience gained in operating the systems, orders for the enhancement of six critical systems have been placed. The enhancement will expand the capacity and improve the operational efficiency of the systems. The ready for service dates range from May 2002 to March 2003.
30. The existing long range primary surveillance radar at Mount Parker has been used for more than 20 years and is approaching the end of its operational life. Tender for its replacement has been invited and contract award is expected in the first half of this year. Its ready for service date is around end 2003.
31. With close liaison and dedicated joint efforts by CAD, Office of the Telecommunications Authority and the Mainland counterparts, the extent of radio frequency interference (RFI) to aeronautical radio communications has been significantly reduced. Full cooperative effort will continue to be exerted with a view to early eradication of the RFI problem.
Satellite-based Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems
32. To comply with the Global Implementation Plan of ICAO for the CNS/ATM Systems, CAD has obtained funding for the Study and Trial Phases of the project during periods 1999-2004 and 2000-2007 respectively. So far, work has progressed in a satisfactory manner. Trials have been conducted for Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS), Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), Satellite Communications (Satcom), Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN), Digital-Automatic Terminal Information Services (D-ATIS) and Digital-Meteorological Information for Aircraft in Flight (D-VOLMET), Pre-Departure Clearance (PDC) Delivery via Data Link, etc. Encouraging results and favourable feedback from pilots and airlines have been received.
33. D-ATIS and D-VOLMET was put into operational use in April 2001, while PDC Delivery via Data Link was put into use in December 2001. Instead of delivering the information by voice broadcast, these services allow direct display/printout of relevant airfield and weather information as well as ATC instructions in the cockpit via data transmission, and hence help reduce the workload of controllers and pilots, as well as enhance data accuracy. Hong Kong is one of the leading ATC authorities in the world offering such services. This helps to maintain Hong Kong as a center of international and regional aviation.
34. Additional trials on Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN), Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (SMGCS), Electronic Flight Strips (EFS), Secondary Surveillance Radar Mode S Data Link and Very High Frequency Data Link (VDL) are planned for this year.
35. As in the past, CAD is committed to a safe and efficient air transport system. We are glad to see that Hong Kong-registered aircraft and airline operators continue to achieve a good safety record despite the expansion in services. All my staff are dedicated to serving the aviation community and the related businesses in Hong Kong. We will continue to endeavour to ensure our vision is achieved, and spare no efforts in maintaining Hong Kong's status as a leading international and regional aviation center.
36. Thank you very much. I and my deputy, Mr Alex Au, are happy to answer any questions you may have.
8 February 2002
Mr Albert Lam, Director-General of Civil Aviation today (February 8) officiated at a presentation ceremony to mark the granting of approval by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) as a recognised aircraft maintenance training organisation.
HAECO is the first organisation to obtain approval in accordance with a CAD document Hong Kong Aviation Requirement (HKAR-147) Approved Maintenance Training/Examination, which aims at ensuring that all maintenance of aircraft, engines and its associated systems is carried out, supervised and certified by people who are properly trained and proficient. The document was introduced by CAD in January 2000.
"The requirements enable an approved company, such as HAECO, to conduct formal aircraft maintenance training, which covers both the basic and type training. Not only are aircraft maintenance engineers taught the required theory, they also receive training on hand-on skills and maintenance practices.
"CAD acknowledges the benefits and improvement in aircraft maintenance standards brought about by formal training. The training provided by HKAR-147 approved organisations will surely raise the competence level of engineers and therefore enhance aviation safety.
"In future, CAD hopes to require all candidates applying for aircraft maintenance engineer's licence to have satisfactorily completed a course provided by HKAR-147 approved organisations. I believe this can be achieved when the industry has become acquainted with the requirements and has acquired the necessary resources and expertise to conduct the formal training," Mr Lam said.
Since April 2000, HAECO has put in substantial amount of time and resources to prepare for and demonstrate to CAD its compliance with the HKAR-147 requirements. After screening all the necessary technical documents and conducting a series of on-site inspections and audits on HAECO's training facilities, and its ability in conducting training courses and examinations, CAD was satisfied with the highly professional standards of its comprehensive training programme and the well-equipped training facilities. Subject to regular audits, CAD expects to approve HAECO as a qualified maintenance training organisation at two-year intervals.
Apart from HAECO, three other organisations have also expressed interest in obtaining the HKAR-147 approval. Two of them are based in the Mainland, one of which is an academic college that can deliver the necessary theoretical aspects of the training required by HKAR-147.
"I look forward to having more organisations meeting our requirements in the near future to conduct recognised aircraft maintenance training and examination. After all, we count on each other in this industry to make Hong Kong's air transport system one of the safest in the world," Mr Lam added.
Persons who have completed the HKAR-147 approved basic training courses can obtain certain relief in examination or experience requirements when applying for an aircraft maintenance engineer's licence under HKAR-66 Licensing of Maintenance Personnel (Certifying Staff - Maintenance), which will become effective on April 1. The personnel qualified in accordance with the HKAR-66 requirements have to meet higher knowledge and experience requirements compared with the current licensing system.