Confidence in security unaffected: experts

AVIATION experts in Hongkong believe the hijacking would not undermine confidence in security at Shenzhen airport and affect the inauguration of flights to Singapore.

It is understood the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has just completed an inspection of the airport's customs and security procedures to ensure they meet international standards.

The flight between Shenzhen and Singapore is scheduled to start within weeks.

Shenzhen authorities have attached great importance to the route as it would mark the first step to relieving congestion at Kai Tak airport.

Research director of Travel Business Analyst, Mr Murray Bailey, said all airports could not guarantee 100 per cent safety because all had security loopholes.

He believed yesterday's incident might prompt local authorities to examine and improve procedures.

An aviation consultant said as full details of the hijacking were not known, it was unfair to say whether security measures had failed.

He noted that Shenzhen was one of the best airports in China and the management was qualified to cope with rapidly increasing passenger and cargo services.

A year after its inauguration in 1991, Shenzhen airport has ranked among the top six busiest on the mainland.

Last year, a total of 1.67 million passengers passed through Shenzhen airport along with 11,500 tonnes of freight.

Chinese officials have also openly discussed the possibility of using Shenzhen as Hongkong's replacement airport should Chek Lap Kok not go ahead.

Delegations from more than 10 countries have visited the airport and completed studies.

Expansion projects currently under way include a second passenger terminal to double capacity.