It was the sweetest of ideas, and a good way of ensuring surly immigration officers didn't leave a bad taste in your mouth as you made your way through to the arrivals hall at Chek Lap Kok. Then, when Sars struck last year, the Airport Authority stopped putting bowls of sweets out for people queuing up at immigration counters because of concerns they were inappropriate at a time of mandatory health and temperature checks. Now, 18 months later, the little boiled sweets are back on the counters and being sucked up by passengers at the rate of thousands a day. The 'courtesy candy' initiative was launched by the Airport Authority in February 2002 as part of a customer service initiative aimed at making the process of arriving in Hong Kong a more pleasant experience. The initiative was extended to the departure desks and the sweets were gobbled down at the rate of 160,000 a month - a total of more than two million sweets in the 13 months before it was suspended. Clearly not everyone going through Chek Lap Kok has a sweet tooth, however. The consumption rate equates to fewer than one in every 20 incoming and outgoing passengers. Airport authority spokesman Tam Siu-man said the initiative had received positive feedback from passengers and the airport community. 'So, after the removal of the compulsory health declaration for passengers on July 1 and temperature checks for all departing and transit passengers on July 12, we decided to reintroduce it,' he said. He said he was unable to reveal which Hong Kong company makes the courtesy candy or how much the authority has spent on providing it. Oddly enough, the sweets come in only one flavour - blackcurrant. As well as the 'courtesy candy', he pointed out, the authority had also introduced free internet lounges, a children's play area and TV areas for passengers as part of a range of new facilities. 'We also organise seasonal programmes to add a festive feeling to the passenger terminal,' he said. 'This year, seasonal performance programmes will be organised around the Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas.'