THE air traffic chaos caused by the closure of Kai Tak for 61/2 hours is expected to last through this morning. About 50 planes due to arrive from all over the world were either grounded for hours or, if in the air when the accident happened, were sent on to airports in Singapore, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Manila, Kaohsiung and Taipei. An estimated 38 scheduled departures were also delayed or cancelled, leaving thousands of people stranded at Kai Tak and other terminals throughout Asia. A spokesman for Cathay Pacific said 52 Cathay flights had been hit. ''It's not just the planes due to take off and land in Hong Kong that have been delayed. There is a knock-on effect, with a lot of people waiting in other airports for onward connections which have not arrived.'' He said that even though the normal curfew on planes was lifted last night, the backlog would not be cleared until today. By 6 pm, when the airport re-opened, passengers were brimming from the departure lounge outside to the taxi stand. The limited number of seats were grabbed in the early afternoon and people were strewn over their luggage. Sara Stevenson, 24, from New York, arrived at Kai Tak at noon for her 1 pm flight. But the Japan Airlines flight to Taipei was rescheduled to 9.30 am today. ''I'm not so upset about the wait - although it's going to be uncomfortable,'' she said. ''But I'm really annoyed by the lack of communication here. ''When I arrived I realised what was wrong because I saw the plane in the harbour, but no one from the airport ever actually bothered to explain what all the commotion was about. ''We were told there was some sort of obstruction and that was all.'' Many of the airlines distributed food vouchers to delayed passengers, but the restaurants were always full.