A campaign to maintain Kai Tak Airport after 1998 will be stepped up tomorrow, as questions continue to be raised about Hong Kong's need for a secondary take-off and landing port. Growing agitation over the need to re-examine keeping Kai Tak as a city airport is uniting nine Hong Kong-based chambers of commerce and business associations, which have organised a forum tomorrow to discuss the move. The bodies represent businesses from Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and Switzerland. While some of these groups do not have a definite view on the issue, they are concerned whether there has been sufficient debate on whether Chek Lap Kok will sufficiently service the business community's needs. Several aircraft makers - particularly those involved in the commuter aviation sector - and airline representatives will air views strongly in favour of the retention of Kai Tak. The executive director of the British Chamber of Commerce, Chris Hammerbeck, said issues regarding the maintenance of Kai Tak needed, at the very least, to be aired. 'There has not been a proper public airing of it,' he said. The Government has released detailed plans for the redevelopment of southeast Kowloon following the closure of Kai Tak airport, which is expected to provide housing for about 285,000 people. The scheme covers an area of 940 hectares, comprising the airport and parts of Kowloon, Ma Tau Kok, To Kwa Wan and Hunghom. Early development works are scheduled to begin late in 1999. Mr Hammerbeck said the City of London airport in London's Docklands area had run into early problems, but it was now seen as a 'highly successful city airport'. Flights operated to 18 European locations from the Docklands site, a factor which added weight to arguments for a city airport. Like Kai Tak, the Docklands site was convenient to many businesses. Mr Hammerbeck said he also hoped tomorrow's forum would discuss the matter of Chek Lap Kok's suitability for commuter style jets of up to 100 seats. While the new airport has space set aside for corporate business travel, aviation industry sources believe it will not be viable for commuter jets to operate out of Chek Lap Kok because of expected increases in landing fees and other charges once the airport opens. Aercraft manufacturer Saab Aircraft has a strong interest in seeing a second airport maintained. The company, which produces aircraft of less than 100 seats, claims Hong Kong would reap considerable benefits from maintaining a city airport. Jeff Saunders, marketing director of Saab Aircraft in Hong Kong, said there were a number of destinations in China and Taiwan which could be accessed by commuter aircraft. In addition, using such planes could allow airlines to operate more frequently if airport fees were not overly high. There was a case for keeping a separate commuter airport, like the London operation which allows check-in times of 10 minutes on European routes, he said. Mr Saunders said the new airport had put aside some space for corporate jets, but the expected jump in fees at Chek Lap Kok was likely to create viability problems for potential operators of smaller aircraft. Mr Saunders also maintained that a large proportion of the present space occupied by Kai Tak airport could still be redeveloped, with just 35 per cent of its space retained for the smaller commuter operation. He believes the new airport may reach its full capacity before long, and maintaining part of Kai Tak to accept flights could alleviate these problems. At present no Saab aircraft operate out of Kai Tak Airport, as planes of under 100 seats are excluded. A spokesman for the Airport Authority said the matter was not one for the body to pursue. The Government had said that Kai Tak would not be maintained, and the authority's stance mirrored that of the Government. 'We understand Kai Tak will not be maintained, and that is the basis on which we are moving ahead,' he said. The lobbying push was not something which concerned the Airport Authority, the spokesman said. 'We have got to build a big airport and get it open,' he said.