PASSENGERS ARE promised a unique and delightful airport experience at Hong Kong International Airport, complete with a comprehensive range of top-grade customer facilities and services. The Airport Authority has sought ways to continuously improve the comfort and environment under the soaring arched roof of the vast passenger terminal. Early this year, the SkyMart complex was expanded, providing 200 shops and restaurants at the airport, catering for a variety of different tastes and interests. The authority has also pledged to constantly bring in new products to the airport to maintain its attractiveness. A foot massage service, for instance, complemented with herbal treatment, is now available, offering passengers a chance to relax while waiting to board. Airport Authority chief executive David Pang said it had worked hard to provide a unique airport experience. While ensuring service quality and efficiency, Chek Lap Kok strives to make passengers feel as comfortable as possible. Mr Pang said the unique airport experience was a result of a combination of efficient facilities and excellent services. 'That will bring joy and good memories for our customers. That's what we are selling and that's how we can be competitive,' he said. Half the world's population lives within five hours flying time from Chek Lap Kok, where more than 70 airlines operate flights to more than 140 destinations, including 40 mainland cities. About 600 flights operate daily to and from the airport, which has an annual passenger capacity of 45 million. The ultimate capacity is 87 million. The annual air cargo capacity is now three million tonnes, with the ultimate target being nine million tonnes. Continuing key projects include the East Hall expansion of the terminal, and additional space for check-in, entertainment and commercial purposes, all of which are designed to attract passengers. Mr Pang said Chek Lap Kok had to take into account the interest of all airport users, regardless of their age. To this end, the airport recently reconfigured its children's play area to offer young travellers more fun with drawing boards, books and board games. On weekends, children take part in quiz and colouring competitions, and learn to make handicrafts. For the convenience of passengers and their families, the airport offers pleasant resting areas with 15,000 seats available. More than 3,000 public parking spaces can also be found at the airport's three car parks. The airport also offers a single-denomination prayer room in the check-in hall, and 19 well-appointed nursery rooms equipped with changing and feeding facilities at various locations within the passenger terminal. Business travellers with suitably equipped laptops can access the internet from almost anywhere in the passenger terminal. Porter services are on offer, and there are 12 electric vehicles operating in the restricted area of the arrivals and departures levels to carry passengers to aircraft gates. With increasing ties with the mainland, the airport is also the hub for land transport to key cities in Guangdong. Regular cross-border coach services leave the airport to key cities such as Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Shenzhen Airport, Huizhou, Foshan and Changping. Ferry services to the mainland have been enhanced for added convenience. SkyPier started operating in October 2003, connecting Chek Lap Kok to four ports in the Pearl River Delta including Shekou, Shenzhen, Macau and Humen in Dongguan. By the end of this year, two more ports in Zhongshan and Lianhuashan will be added to the operation.