UNCERTAINTY concerning the new airport has affected the daily operation of Kai Tak, it was claimed yesterday. Both the appointment of a replacement to head the Kai Tak airport management division and the recruitment of airfield supervisors have been affected. Kai Tak's airport general manager, William Hutchings, retired last month but the Government has not decided on how to find a successor, since it is not certain when the future Airport Authority will take over the management of Kai Tak. Departmental Secretary for Civil Aviation John Gardner said the post had traditionally been filled by internal promotion. But the senior deputy airport general manager, Anthony Norman, who is acting for Mr Hutchings, has only been in Hong Kong for three years. ''If we advertise the post and ask someone to give up a good job to work for us, we have to tell them about the prospect of the job,'' said Mr Gardner. ''But the situation is not a straight forward one. Things that should have happened six months ago have not come about.'' It was originally envisaged that the authority would take over the management of Kai Tak sometime this year to gain vital practical experience before the new airport at Chek Lap Kok begins scheduled operations in 1997. The 140 staff working in the management division under the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) should have been informed of the transfer package in about mid-1993 to give them sufficient time to decide whether they wanted to join the new organisation. The idea is for the authority to look after commercial activities in the passenger terminal as well as the day-to-day management of Kai Tak, while the CAD retains responsibility for air traffic, fare issues, flight safety and airport security. It is hoped that things will become clearer when the Airport Authority bill, which will provide a framework for the authority's future operation, is published today. The recruitment of airfield supervisors - who are responsible for bird control, marshalling of planes, lighting and maintenance of the runway - has also encountered difficulties because of the uncertainty concerning the transfer of Kai Tak management. Newly recruited airfield supervisors are being offered month-to-month temporary contracts. The vice-chairman of the Airfield Supervisor Association, Stanley Leung Shing, said that their posts had traditionally been on permanent pensionable civil service terms. ''But how can you get quality people if you are only recruiting them on a temporary basis? There is no protection and the salary is not that attractive. In this way, the quality of our work and daily operation of the airport has no doubt been affected,''he said. Mr Leung said the burden of their work had been heavier with the expansion of Kai Tak. A southern apron had been opened recently, providing five more parking places for planes. The department tried to get eight more staff but only managed to get four because of the temporary nature of the offer. However, the corporate affairs director of the Provisional Airport Authority, Clinton Leeks, said the transfer of management should not affect any CAD appointments. ''I can't see why [the transfer] should affect the appointment of a replacement. It is very much a matter for the CAD since they are still running their own management, although it will be absorbed by the Airport Authority in due course,'' Mr Leeks said. ''There isn't any uncertainty and things are going completely smoothly'', he added. The acting airport general manager, Mr Norman, said he would certainly apply for the post if it was advertised.