10 Years Ago

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 January, 1999, 12:00am

HONGKONG (January 27): THE Government is expected to follow the advice of aviation experts and reject Chek Lap Kok north of Lantau as a site for Hongkong's new airport.

This would leave only three possibilities in the Western harbour area for a replacement for the over-burdened Kai Tak.

Limited space on the small island of Chek Lap Kok would mean that simultaneous landings or departures could not be handled and it would be insufficient to cope with the expected demands for Hongkong's new airport.

The Chief Secretary, Sir David Ford, yesterday said Chek Lap Kok would provide the cheapest and most economic alternative for a new airport but acknowledged it would be inadequate for simultaneous flights.

'A site in the Western harbour would give more flexibility in that it could provide adequate scope for dual runways with 2,000 metres separation which, in turn, could produce a better airport layout and have reserve capacity beyond the year 2011,' Sir David said. This would allow simultaneous arrivals or departures by two aircraft, effectively multiplying capacity.

Aviation experts say this would not be possible at a Chek Lap Kok development because the distance between runways could only be 900 metres.

Sir David said all three possible sites in the Western harbour - two directly west of Lamma Island and one south of Cheung Chau - would provide the necessary runway separation.

The head of the International Air Transport Association, Captain Hans Flugl-Svendson, yesterday said: 'If it's only 900 metres, then you can have only dual operations.' Senior Government aviation officials say the administration will have to accept the Chek Lap Kok site will not be sufficient to cope with the expected demand even though it could be developed at a cheaper price than the alternatives.

The officials say privately it has been agreed the Western harbour area offers the only real possibility as a site for the new airport.