Hong Kong is a major international and regional aviation centre. The Hong Kong
International Airport (HKIA) is one of the busiest airports in the world. At the end of
2006, there were 85 airlines providing about 5 400 weekly services between Hong
Kong and more than 150 cities worldwide.
Air Traffic in 2006
It was another record-breaking year for HKIA. A record high of 44.45 million
passengers, including 1.16 million transit passengers, passed through the airport
during the year, representing an increase of 9.1 per cent over 2005. Aircraft
movements increased by 6.5 per cent to a total of 280 508. Air cargo throughput
also set new records: the airport handled 3.58 million tonnes of air cargo,
representing an increase of 5.2 per cent over 2005. The corresponding value also
increased by 11.3 per cent to $1,745 billion. In 2006, HKIA ranked number one and
number five worldwide in terms of international cargo and international passenger
throughput respectively. The ranking was based on figures from the Airports Council
Air transport continues to play an important role in Hong Kong's external trade.
Goods carried by air accounted for 38.1 per cent, 37.5 per cent and 30.3 per cent in
value terms of Hong Kong's total imports, exports and re-exports respectively in
Home Market Expansion
Improving connections with the Pear River Delta (PRD) region through the
development of a range of transport links remains a major strategy of the Airport
Authority which plans to extend the airport's catchment area to cover the entire PRD
region which has a population of over 40 million. During the year, about 1.7 million
transit passengers used the Airport Authority's cross-boundary ferry service between
the airport and five PRD ports. Passengers on these ferries do not have to go through
customs and immigration procedures in Hong Kong before they board international
flights, which results in significant savings in total travel time. The Airport Authority
further enhanced the service by providing an upstream check-in service at Shekou
Port. Transit passengers can now check in their luggage at Shekou and travel
baggage-free to the airport for their onward journey to overseas destinations.
The cross-boundary coach services are another major transport link between
HKIA and 40 destinations in the PRD. In 2006, about 1.5 million passengers travelled
between the airport and the PRD using the 280 daily coach services.
HKIA continued to work closely with airports on the Mainland to explore
cooperation opportunities that would improve the integration of passenger and air
cargo flows in the region. During the year, the Airport Authority formed a joint
venture with the Zhuhai Municipal People's Government to manage the Zhuhai
Airport. The arrangement went into effect on October 1, 2006.
HKIA fulfils the ever-increasing expectations of customers by offering the highest
standard of service. In addition to state-of-the-art facilities to support hassle-free flow
of passenger and cargo, the airport's shopping mall, Hong Kong SkyMart, currently
home to over 200 shops and restaurants including 25 top-line brand names, gives
customers a shopping experience comparable to that offered by any high-end city
centre shopping mall.
Indeed, HKIA itself is one of Hong Kong's most successful brand names, thanks
to the dedication and commitment of the whole airport community. In 2006, HKIA
received Travel Trade Gazette's Best Airport Award, for the fourth year in a row.
Preparation for Growth
The Mainland's fast-growing aviation market brings growth opportunities as well
as new challenges to HKIA. 'HKIA 2025', the latest Master Plan of the Airport
Authority published in December 2006, re-examined the airport's long-term vision,
growth strategy and facility planning directions, in the light of growing demand and
With China's fast-growing international trade, the demand for aviation service
between Mainland cities and international destinations will see continuous strong
growth in the coming 20 years. Leveraging on its well established international
network, HKIA aspires to be one of the most important gateway hubs of China,
maintaining at the same time its status as a leading international aviation hub in Asia.
The Airport Authority envisages that by 2025, HKIA will handle 80 million passengers
and 8 million tonnes of air cargo each year.
To meet the challenges and opportunities ahead, HKIA will continue to expand
its catchment area in the PRD region through cross-boundary ferry and coach
connections and make cross-boundary travel more convenient. The Airport Authority
will continue to encourage airlines to expand their networks of both Mainland and
international destinations. Furthermore, the Airport Authority is working with the
Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to maximise the existing runway capacity. The
studies on the engineering and environmental feasibility of building a third runway
will soon be initiated.
On facility planning, to cater for the increasing traffic demand between HKIA
and the Pearl River Delta region, a permanent cross-boundary ferry terminal, SkyPier,
will be built to link up with passenger terminal buildings using the Automated People
Mover system. In December 2006, the Airport Authority issued invitations for pre-qualification
proposals for building a new cargo terminal at HKIA. The new terminal
will provide the needed extra capacity in time to meet the additional demand in the
2010s. A precious metals depository will be set up in HKIA to provide a central,
secure storage facility for traders and institutional investors, and to serve as a physical
settlement platform for Asian markets. The Airport Authority has signed an
agreement with business partners to build a second airport hotel. The new five-star
airport hotel with 1 000 rooms will provide travellers, tourists and exhibition visitors
with a perfect place to unwind.
Meanwhile, several major projects were completed in 2006. SkyPlaza, a multi-purpose
development comprising a new departure hall, airline check-in counters,
ground transportation facilities and retail and office space, is ready for occupation in
phases from early 2007. Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co Ltd's second hangar at
HKIA is now in operation and can accommodate two wide-bodied and one smaller
aircraft at the same time. The Asia Airfreight Terminal completed its Terminal 2 in
December 2006, bringing its annual cargo handling capacity from 600 000 tonnes to
1.5 million tonnes. The giant A380 aircraft landed at HKIA for the first time on
November 18, 2006 after the completion of related taxiways and parking stands
Under the specific authorisation of the Central People's Government, the HKSAR
Government continues to negotiate and conclude bilateral air services agreements
with aviation partners, providing the legal framework for scheduled air services
between Hong Kong and other places. During the year, the Government concluded
new air services agreements with Ethiopia, Mexico and Kazakhstan bringing the total
to 58 agreements.
The Government also reviews actively the traffic rights arrangements with its
partners to expand Hong Kong's aviation network and to introduce more competition
into the market. In 2006, the Government expanded traffic arrangements with six
aviation partners, including fully liberalising bilateral air services between Hong Kong
and Brunei, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
During the year, the Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) granted seven
licences: one to Cathay Pacific Airways (CPA), one to Hong Kong Dragon Airlines
(HDA), two to AHK Air Hong Kong (AHK) and three to Hong Kong Express Airways
(HKE). The Procedural Guide on ATLA's procedures for processing licence applications
is available on:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CPA) celebrated its 60th anniversary in September 2006.
CPA also completed its shareholding realignment with relevant parties which made
Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (HDA) a wholly owned subsidiary of the airline. CPA
commenced codeshare arrangements with British Airways Comair to the cities of
Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa in August. It also started to
codeshare with HDA flights to six destinations, namely, Beijing, Kota Kinabalu,
Phuket, Shanghai, Tokyo and Xiamen in September. In December, the airline resumed
its passenger services to Shanghai. During the year, the airline took delivery of one
Boeing B777-300 and one Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the latter being the 100th
aircraft of the airline fleet. As for freighter services, the airline launched new services
to Chennai in June, commenced services to Stockholm and Toronto in September and
Beijing in November. During the year, two Boeing B747-400 BCF freighters under the
B747-400 passenger-to-freighter conversion programme were received. By the end of
2006, CPA operated scheduled services to 55 destinations worldwide.
During the year, three Airbus A330-300 aircraft were delivered to HDA. The
airline launched scheduled passenger air services to Shenyang in April, suspended the
scheduled services to Bangkok in September and resumed services to Phuket in
December. In respect of air cargo, two Boeing B747 BCF freighters were delivered
and the airline increased the frequency of its services to Frankfurt in October. By the
end of the year, HDA operated scheduled services to a total of 33 destinations,
including 19 cities on the Mainland.
AHK Air Hong Kong received two more new Airbus A300-600 freighters in May
and June respectively. New scheduled all-cargo services to Nagoya were launched in
October. The airline serves a total of eight destinations in Asia.
The Air Operator's Certificate issued to CR Airways was revised following its
switch of fleet to four B737-800 aircraft from June this year. The airline expanded its
network to cover Changsha, Tianjin and Fuzhou in August, September and December
respectively. In November, the airline changed its name to Hong Kong Airlines. By the
end of the year, Hong Kong Airlines operated scheduled services to a total of eight
Hong Kong Express Airways (HKE) acquired the fourth Embraer ERJ-170 aircraft
in May. The airline commenced air services to Chiang Mai and Chongqing in June and
A new airline, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines commenced scheduled passenger
services to London Gatwick Airport after it was issued an Air Operator's Certificate in
October. It was operating two Boeing B747-400 aircraft by December 2006.
An Air Operator's Certificate was issued to Heli Express Limited in February to
provide non-scheduled helicopter air services.
Regarding non-Hong Kong airlines, Qatar Airways commenced scheduled
passenger services between Doha and Hong Kong in March. Air Niugini resumed
passenger services between Port Moresby and Hong Kong in August. For scheduled
all-cargo services, Ocean Airlines commenced services between Milan and Hong Kong
in June. In July, Volga Dnepr Airlines commenced services between points in Russia,
Nagoya and Hong Kong. In October, Southern Air commenced services between
points in the USA and Hong Kong, and Sky Express Aviation (Cargo) Limited,
between Athens and Hong Kong.
Two airlines suspended their services to Hong Kong in 2006. Australian Airlines
suspended its passenger services between Cairns and Hong Kong in July. Thai Sky
Airlines suspended its passenger services between Phuket, Taipei and Hong Kong in
The Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the proposed expansion of the
cross-boundary heliport at the Macao Ferry Terminal was completed in February
2006. Tendering arrangements for the proposed expansion works was in progress.
Also, the Government decided to open the proposed government helipad at the
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to commercial operators to provide
them with a permanent landing facility. A technical feasibility study is being
conducted to take the project forward.
Updating of the Aviation Legislation
To ensure aviation safety and to give effect to the latest international standards
governing the transport of dangerous goods by air in Hong Kong, the Dangerous
Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations and the Air Navigation (Dangerous
Goods) Regulations were amended and came into effect on November 1, 2006.
The Government continued to align Hong Kong's aviation legislation with the
latest international standards. The local law of Hong Kong was amended to give
effect to the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International
Carriage by Air, signed in Montreal on May 28, 1999. The Convention, which
improves the protection of the interests of passengers and shippers in international
carriage by air, took effect in Hong Kong from December 15, 2006.
Air Traffic Control
The air traffic control system continued to perform in a stable and reliable
manner. It handled 280 508 aircraft movements at HKIA and 139 714 overflights,
including aircraft flying to and from Macao Airport, representing a 6.5 per cent and
11.2 per cent increase over 2005.
The Civil Aviation Department continued its discussion with the civil aviation
authorities of the Mainland and Macao on measures to improve the efficiency of air
traffic operations in the Pearl River Delta area. The tripartite working group met on
three occasions in the year to identify long-term solutions and interim measures to
rationalise air traffic management to support air traffic growth in the PRD region.
One of the measures was the establishment of a new handover point on December
21, 2006 to improve air traffic flow between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
CAD joined forces with the People's Liberation Army Forces in the HKSAR,
various government departments and the United States search and rescue units to
conduct long and short range search and rescue exercises from October 24-27. The
exercise served to enhance the preparedness and capability of all parties concerned in
the event of a situation that requires emergency search and rescue.
The Technical Services Agreement providing technical services for the operations
and maintenance of the mission-critical air traffic control systems for HKIA and Hong
Kong Flight Information Region expired on September 30, 2006. Following the
completion of open tender procedures, contracts for the provision of relevant
technical services were awarded to PCCW-HKT Telephone Limited in September 2006
for a period of 10 years.
The old Doppler VHK Omni-Directional Radio Range and Distance Measuring
Equipment (DVOR/DME) on Tung Lung Island was decommissioned in May 2006. The
replacement system was installed and put into operation on December 21, 2006.
Aircraft Operation and Airworthiness
In March, a 'Technical Arrangement on Aircraft Maintenance' was signed
between the Civil Aviation Directorate of Transport Canada and CAD for the mutual
recognition of aircraft maintenance approval. This arrangement is an expansion of a
previous one signed in December 2005.
In June, a 'Cooperation Arrangement on Mutual Acceptance of Approval of
Aircraft Maintenance Organisations' was signed between the General Administration
of Civil Aviation of China, Macao Civil Aviation Authority and CAD. This cooperation
arrangement, which includes entire aircraft maintenance, is an expansion of a
previous one signed in May 2002 that covered only aircraft component maintenance.
Aircraft Noise Management
In Hong Kong, the impact of aircraft noise was assessed on the basis of the
internationally accepted Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) Contour. The determination of
the contour took into account factors including the decibel levels of aircraft noise, its
tonal characteristics and the duration and frequency of overflying flights at different
times of the day. The aircraft noise standard adopted in Hong Kong was the NEF 25
contour, which was more stringent than the standards adopted by some other
CAD continued to monitor closely the flight tracks and the noise impact on the
community and to implement all practical aircraft noise mitigating measures. These
measures included flight paths that cross fewer residential areas at night, noise
abatement arrival and departure procedures, and prohibiting the operation of noisy
aircraft which exceeded the noise standard stipulated in Volume I, Part II, Chapter 3
of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
The department continued to provide support to the ICAO (International Civil
Aviation Organisation) Universal Security Audit Programme. During the year, one
officer from the department, who has been qualified as ICAO certified aviation
security auditor, served as Short Term Expert of ICAO team in the security audit of
Assessment of the HKIA for accommodating new large aircraft
Following the completion of the airport upgrading works for new large aircraft
in mid-2006, CAD conducted the HKIA aerodrome assessment and confirmed that it
was in compliance with the ICAO requirements. In July 2006, CAD endorsed the
reclassification of HKIA to a Code 4F aerodrome for accommodating aircraft with
wing spans of up to 80 metres including Airbus A380.
The first A380 aircraft to fly into Hong Kong landed at HKIA on November 18
and departed for Tokyo the following day. An operational trial involving airport
facilities and ground handling franchisees went off smoothly. CAD with the parties
concerned reviewed the operational trial to facilitate the continuous improvement in
aircraft servicing operational procedures and facilities by the relevant service