Trial period scrapped due to work delays

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 1998, 12:00am

Three months of airport trials were reduced to six weeks before being discarded entirely, it emerged yesterday.

The Airport Authority said it wanted the buffer to ensure trials and training could be conducted without interference from construction and labourers.

Project director Douglas Oakervee told the Commission of Inquiry on the New Airport that the authority realised in the middle of last year the target might not be met due to work delays.

The commission heard the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office recommended in August last year that a minimum of six weeks be set for trials and training which it considered a 'key milestone' of a smooth opening.

However, Mr Oakervee said that by December the authority realised it was impossible to meet even the lower target due to the continuing slippage of works.

'We were endeavouring to achieve it but it simply was not possible - [test time] was evaporating all through 1997,' Mr Oakervee said.

The authority had intended to start the three months of trials and training after the commissioning of the airport and all its systems. But many works fell behind schedule.

The commission heard interference from power blackouts, lack of phone and electrical outlets, fumbling labourers and general construction mess wreaked havoc on trials and training before the July 6 opening.

The inquiry before Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing continues today.