THE Director of Civil Aviation, Peter Lok, has unveiled details of a proposed $200 million programme to improve runway capacity and ease passenger congestion at jam-packed Kai Tak. Mr Lok is aiming to increase the maximum number of flights in and out of Kai Tak by one per hour for each of the next three years until the airport closes. To achieve that, he is looking to improve the management of airspace and to make the layout of the runway more efficient. Improvements will also be made to the aircraft parking apron, terminal building and the access road network. The next phase of expansion will include new passenger and baggage check-in counters, additional transfer desks, expansion of the existing airside departure hall and another boarding lounge. Mr Lok said a secondary surveillance radar had been acquired last year, and another would be added next year to enable the airport's air traffic controllers to monitor separation between aircraft more precisely. Air traffic control facilities would be increased and more workstations installed to share the increasing workload, he said. In addition, to keep the workload of air traffic controllers within safe limits, Mr Lok said the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) was developing a computer system for monitoring the build-up of air traffic five hours in advance, so that regulatory measures could be taken to prevent excessive traffic flow. Flights scheduled between 7am and 9pm are not supposed to exceed 28 per hour but, in practice, the number of aircraft using the runway can be as many as 36 per hour during peak periods, putting pressure on Kai Tak's air traffic control system. The number of flights scheduled is limited to 18 an hour between 6.30am and 7am and between 9pm and 11.30pm to minimise the amount of noise disturbance caused to local residents. The CAD's research shows that as many as 128 flights every week were foregone last winter because suitable time slots were not available. It predicted this would increase sharply to 336 flights this summer, translating into annual loss of tourism revenue for the territory of $6.8 billion. ''We are fully aware that a comprehensive and efficient air transport network is essential to Hong Kong as a regional and international centre of air traffic in the long-term economic interest of the territory,'' Mr Lok said.