Chek Lap Kok has sea option

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 November, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 November, 1993, 12:00am

THE new Hong Kong airport, Chek Lap Kok, will be accessible by road, rail and ferry when it is finished.

And the Hong Kong Ferry Company is likely to be a main operator in the ferry business.

The island of Chek Lap Kok is much further from Hong Kong's large concentrations of population than Kai Tak, so the noise of approaching aircraft should be less of a problem.

Another advantage is that take-offs and landings over water tend to be smoother and more stable, with less variable air currents.

Uneven, broken terrain or urban areas have up-draughts from buildings which can cause bumpy approaches.

Passengers will have a range of options when approaching Chek Lap Kok for departure, or when returning to the territory.

The airport railway will feature a dedicated rail service from Central right to the heart of the Chek Lap Kok ground transportation centre.

The Mass Transit Railway Corp estimates the ride from Central will take 23 minutes and cost about $50.

On the eastern edge of the airport island, the ferry piers will take passengers.

Although still in the planning stages, ferry services could run from both Central and Kowloon.

The ferry service to Chek Lap Kok will be a great help to the new airport because it will increase transportation options for people from all over the territory.

Passengers travelling by taxi or bus from Hong Kong island, will use the Western Harbour Crossing, which is now being constructed as a dual three-lane cross-harbour tunnel between Sai Ying Pun, just west of the Shun Tak Centre, and the new West Kowloon Reclamation.

From there, passengers will speed along the West Kowloon Expressway to Route 3, and into the Cheung Ching tunnels, before crossing the Tsing Ma suspension bridge, and the Kap Shui Mun bridge, which together make up the Lantau Fixed Crossing.

The final leg of the journey will be the North Lantau Expressway, carved into the rugged coast of Lantau island, before crossing the bridge on to the airport island and into the ground transportation centre.

The trip on a Hong Kong Ferry will be more straightforward.

Following its departure from Central, the ferry will pass under the Tsing Ma suspension bridge, offering passengers a view of the longest railway suspension bridge in the world.

Next, will be a voyage along the coast of Lantau island, followed by arrival at Chek Lap Kok.

The speed and cost will depend on the size and type of ferry.

The Hong Kong Ferry Company has announced it is considering the addition of high-speed catamaran-type vessels to its existing fleet.

The catamarans will be similar to those used to serve the airport at Shenzhen, which are built in Singapore to Norweigan design.

Apart from occasional suspensions of the ferry service during typhoons, the service runs every hour.

A ride to Cheung Chau in the ordinary class costs $7 from Monday to Saturday. The air-conditioned deluxe class costs an additional $5.

An impressive feature of the ferry service is the skill of the helmsmen in docking the vessels at the piers.

Visiting ship captains remark on the precision and skill needed to control large vessels coming in to a pier at several knots.

There is a need to reverse the engines, and steer just at the right moment so that the stern line tightens without snapping.

It then requires swinging the bow to rest easily against the dock - all of this in a matter of seconds.