Whatever the refinements of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok, it cannot match the convenience of Kai Tak's central location and ease of access. But at least a good decision has been reached on fares for the journey on the $35 billion Airport Express train. The announcement of a $100 ticket to the airport from Central, $150 same-day round trip, free travel for children under three and a free same-day return trip for senior citizens, is welcome news. It signals a striking change of heart since February, when the MTR Corporation was talking of a $150 one-way fare without any concessions, and even a $20 to $30 baggage handling fee. The new fare remains high in comparison with the alternative journey via the Tung Chung service which runs alongside the airport line. That trip costs $21 to the new town from Central, where buses can shuttle passengers to Chek Lap Kok for around $4. Budget conscious travellers may still take that route, but at $100 the convenience of handing in baggage at Central or Kowloon, and stepping from the train directly into the check-in lounge will probably win out. Neither will jet-lagged fliers arriving from long haul routes fancy hauling baggage aboard the shuttle bus to Tung Chung station to save $75. Economic strictures have imposed these charges, but it would be a mistake for the MTR management to think that higher fares would be acceptable in a better financial climate. Hong Kong is a city of frequent fliers, and people travel to the airport regularly to wave friends and relatives in or out. Fewer families will be able to do this at Chek Lap Kok when the exercise costs them $400 or $500. The trip to town for $100 will probably be judged by tourists as value for money. The ride from Lantau over the Tsing Ma Bridge with its spectacular vistas will be a heady start to their visit. The sensible decision on fares will also go a long way to restore in the community a belief that their airport - a vital public facility - is still as accessible to them as Kai Tak has been.