Aviation chiefs representing hundreds of airlines are locked in top-level talks with Chek Lap Kok managers over their fight for lower fees. Senior managers of international airlines have flown in for negotiations, which began yesterday, aimed at winning a cut in airport charges they say are among the highest in the world. They are joined by officials from the International Air Transport Association, which has more than 260 member airlines, in talks expected to run all day today and possibly into tomorrow. 'This is a Hong Kong issue, not an airline issue. It's about maintaining our competitiveness and our position as an aviation hub,' Cathay Pacific spokeswoman Quince Chong Wai-yan said. Cathay is one of nine carriers with a representative at the talks, and has been one of the loudest voices in the long-running debate, which has raged since Chek Lap Kok opened. Airlines say Hong Kong has the third-most expensive airport in the world, behind only Narita in Tokyo and Kansai in Osaka, and charges are double that of regional rival Changi in Singapore. The Airport Authority's own calculations put Chek Lap Kok further down the fees league table, in 11th place, and officials have said they cannot lower fees and pay off loans on time without hitting taxpayers. Authority spokesman Chris Donnelley said yesterday it was too soon to say if there would be any movement on fees. A decision might not come until some time after the talks ended. Airlines want a $39 terminal fee per passenger dropped and a review of landing and parking fees.