Runways start 24-hour operation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 September, 1999, 12:00am

The north and south runways at Chek Lap Kok began operating round-the-clock for the first time yesterday, just two days after removal of the last of the wreckage of the crashed China Airlines jet.

Incoming flights will land on the north runway where the instrument landing system is more sophisticated than the south runway, which will accommodate outgoing flights.

Noise pollution complaints have increased since the north runway was partially opened on May 26.

A Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman said noise levels under the new flight paths conformed with forecasts.

She said the department would try to minimise impact on residents, especially between 11pm and 7am.

The south runway was closed for eight days after a China Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11 crashed and overturned while trying to land on August 22.

The airline is cutting 68 of its more than 4,000 flights a month from today for pilots to attend retraining programmes.

The cuts include 60 round-trip flights between Hong Kong and Taiwan and eight round-trip flights between the United States and Taiwan.

An airline spokesman said that the cut was also needed for aircraft maintenance and added the schedule from October onwards would be reviewed by the end of this month.

'The reduction will inevitably affect our businesses. But the financial loss is not as important as the damage to our reputation following the accident,' he said.

The crash left three people dead and more than 200 injured. Nineteen victims remained in hospital last night, one in critical condition.