THE Hongkong Association of Freight Forwarding Agents (HAFFA) has described as ''absolutely disgusting'' the Provisional Airport Authority's decision to invite non-Hongkong companies to bid for the cargo terminal at Chek Lap Kok. HAFFA chairman Walther Nahr said the association, which had been discussing the terminal with the PAA for the past three years, had always supported the concept of a single terminal operation for various reasons. ''We were always told that we would be consulted, but when they decided to invite non-Hongkong companies, we were not consulted,'' he said. The PAA revealed in March that apart from Hongkong Air Cargo Terminal (HACTL), three other groups had applied for licences for cargo processing at Chek Lap Kok. The others were: A consortium led by Changi International Airport Services (CIAS) and including Steamers Maritime Holdings, Asia Pacific Logistics Services and US air cargo firm Federal Express. A proposed consortium led by international courier DHL Worldwide Express. Singapore Airport Terminal Services. A PAA representative said that when the authority had invited participation from foreign companies to pre-qualify for the cargo handling licence, the response included those from Singapore. ''Singapore companies were not invited per se by the PAA to bid for the licences and the bids are being processed. The number of licences that will be awarded is not known,'' she said. She also denied that HAFFA and the freight forwarding agents had not been consulted. She claimed that the PAA had met and consulted them on several occasions and that these consultations were continuing. Mr Nahr said: ''My gut feeling is that the decision [of the PAA] was revenue-driven rather than service-driven.'' He said he was ''very disappointed and upset'' by the way the whole matter had been handled because the PAA had ignored the views of the freight forwarding community, which handled 96 to 97 per cent of cargo to the airport. ''I think there is something wrong with the system,'' he stressed. Mr Nahr said what he was concerned about was that Singapore, which had always been a major competitor of Hongkong's air freight transshipment industry, might be allowed to run a cargo terminal in the territory. He also expressed his concern about the probable emergence of separate express facilities at the airport. He said he did not want a showdown with the PAA, but wanted to show the authority the advantages of a single terminal and the disadvantages of a multi-cargo terminal. ''I thought we had reached an agreement with the PAA on the single cargo terminal and then we are told of the applications that indicates there will be at least two terminals.'' He also pointed out that besides HAFFA, the Hongkong Shippers Council and the Hongkong Coalition of Service Industries backed the concept of a single cargo terminal at Chek Lap Kok, regardless of who would operate it.