The lights were turned out at Kai Tak at 1.16 this morning, marking the end of the airport's 73-year history. 'Goodbye Kai Tak and thank you,' said Director of Civil Aviation Richard Siegel, before throwing the switch. As the lights went out, hundreds of people worked through the night in a hectic 13-hour operation to move the last pieces of equipment to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok, 35km away. The last pilot to fly out of Kai Tak was 51-year-old Kim Sharman, making his final flight before retiring. 'I came in for the last time a couple of days ago and all the nostalgia and memories have been flowing back,' said Mr Sharman, who flew CX251 to London, leaving at two minutes past midnight. He had landed at Kai Tak about 4,000 times. 'Being the last pilot out of Kai Tak will put me into history and it's a nice end to a career.' Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen watched the runway go dark. They will be at Chek Lap Kok this morning to welcome the first of 70,000 passengers expected to use the airport on its first day. Dragonair's KA841 from Chongqing was the last plane to make the breathtaking 47-degree turn over Kowloon City to land on Runway 13 at 11.38pm. That aircraft and 30 others that would normally be parked overnight were then flown on the short hop to Chek Lap Kok, which was scheduled to open at 6.30am. The first arrival is predicted to be a record-breaking non-stop Cathay flight from New York. Other pieces of equipment were moved by truck and barge in a military-style operation to get the new airport open on time. Emotions were running high throughout the day, with celebration tinged with sadness for the hundreds of people who wandered through Kai Tak's passenger terminal for one last time, including many past workers. 'Roger, over and out Kai Tak, we'll miss you,' an Australian captain who was one of the last to fly out of the airport radioed to the tower. Swire Group chairman Peter Sutch said he started his Cathay career on January 2, 1970 as a trainee check-in clerk in the departure hall. 'Kai Tak is the sort of place that, because of its basically inadequate facilities, encourages the staff working here to put in more effort to provide a good service and it develops a family atmosphere,' he said. 'Chek Lap Kok with all its size and space needs the human touch and I hope the people who work here will take that with them.' Despite Cathay's grand plans to develop Hong Kong into a 'super-hub' at Chek Lap Kok, Mr Sutch admitted he was sad to see the old airport go. Asked if he had a lump in his throat or tear in his eye when he last flew in a week ago, he replied: 'It sounds very sentimental, but yes.' Police marched through the departure hall at about 12.30am, urging sightseers to leave for the last time. The unexpectedly fine weather drew huge crowds to rooftops in Kowloon City, with residents and tourists wanting a last close-up look at airliners swooping low over the buildings. The total move will not be completed for another 30 days and even then many of the buildings around Kai Tak will still be in use, including Cathay Pacific headquarters, where staff will stay until September. This morning will be the first without the roar of jets for the thousands of people living under the old flight path, and their feelings are mixed. 'I hated the noise at the beginning, but now I am going to miss the planes,' said Ng Lai-wah, who has lived for 10 years with her family across from Kai Tak on Tak Ku Ling Road.