THE design contract for the world's first operational wind-shear warning system for the Chek Lap Kok airport has been awarded to a local university and an American company. The joint bid of about $115 million by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and non-profit Weather Information Technologies Inc outbid the other overseas tenders. It is understood the contract was signed earlier this month with the formal announcement to be made soon. The warning system, which will alert pilots to hazardous wind conditions around the new airport, has been questioned by some legislators who doubted whether Hong Kong possessed the technology to develop it. The three-year project, which has to be completed before the opening of the new airport by July 1, 1997, includes an observation programme and scientific studies, and the design and production of software for the system. Although the university would only be responsible for about $25 million of the project, it would be heavily involved. Vice-chancellor Professor Woo Chia-wei said: ''We are quite confident that we can produce a good product. ''Our airport is going to be the newest and most expensive in the world, why shouldn't we have something that the world wants. We should be able to export this technology.'' Airlines in Hong Kong are considering a central typhoon hotline for passengers worried their flight has been cancelled when the No 8 signal is hoisted. The move follows criticism from the Consumer Council that airlines did not do enough to tell passengers what was happening when Typhoon Dot hit the territory. The council said many passengers made hair-raising journeys to Kai Tak at the height of the typhoon only to find their flight had been delayed. The airlines are also considering if it is feasible to set up a shuttle bus between the airport and the nearest Mass Transit Railway station during a typhoon. The executive committee of the Hong Kong Board of Airline Representatives meets next week to consider if it is practical to have one telephone number for the more than 50 airlines operating in Hong Kong.