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File: Hong Kong HKG

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Hong Kong HKGHong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the main airport in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG HKG THEMED WEB SEARCH

It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which largely comprises land reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself. The airport is also colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport, to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.

The airport has been commercially operational since 1998, replacing the former Kai Tak Airport, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with 44 destinations) and the rest of Asia. The airport is currently the world's busiest cargo gateway and one of the world's busiest passenger airports.

The Hong Kong International Airport is also home to one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings (the largest when opened in 1998). Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Asia. It is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong, 24 hours a day, and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Air Hong Kong (cargo). The airport is one of the hubs of Oneworld alliance, and it is also one of the hubs of Asian-Pacific cargo hubs for UPS Airlines. It is a focus city for many airlines, including China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Singapore Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Air India use Hong Kong as a stopover point for the flights respectively.

HKIA is an important contributor to Hong Kong's economy, with approximately 60,000 employees. More than 100 airlines operate flights from the airport to over 180 cities across the globe. In 2012 HKIA handled 56,557,751 passengers, making it the 12th busiest airport worldwide by passenger traffic. It also surpassed Memphis International Airport to become the world's busiest airport by cargo traffic.

Chek Lap Kok Airport was designed as a replacement for the former Hong Kong International Airport (commonly known as Kai Tak Airport) originally built in 1925. Located in the densely built-up Kowloon City District with a single runway extending into Kowloon Bay, Kai Tak had only limited room for expansion to cope with steadily increasing air traffic. By the 1990s, Kai Tak had become one of the world's busiest airports – it far exceeded its annual passenger and cargo design capacities, and one out of every three flights experienced delays, largely due to lack of space for aircraft, gates, and a second runway. In addition, noise mitigation measures restricted nighttime flights, as severe noise pollution (exceeding 105 dB(A) in Kowloon City) adversely affected an estimated total of at least 340,000 people.

A 1974 planning study by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation and Public Works department identified the small island of Chek Lap Kok, off Lantau Island, as a possible airport replacement site. Away from the congested city centre, flight paths would be routed over the South China Sea rather than populous urban areas, enabling efficient round-the-clock operation of multiple runways. The Chek Lap Kok (CLK) airport master plan and civil engineering studies were completed towards the end of 1982 and 1983 respectively. In February 1983, however, Government shelved the project for financial and economic reasons. In 1988, the Port & Airport Development Strategy (PADS) Study was undertaken by consultants, headed by Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Limited, reporting in December 1989. This study looked at forecasts for both airport and port traffic to the year 2011 and came up with three recommended strategies for overall strategic development in Hong Kong. One of the three assumed maintaining the existing airport at Kaitak; a second assumed a possible airport in the Western Harbour between Lantau Island and Hong Kong Island and the third assumed a new airport at CLK. The consultants produced detailed analyses for each scenario, enabling Government to consider these appraisals for each of the three "Recommended Strategies". In October 1989 the Governor of Hong Kong announced to the Legislative Council that a decision had been made on the long-term port and airport development strategy for the territory. The strategy to be adopted was that which included a replacement airport at Chek Lap Kok and incorporating new container terminals 8 and 9 at Stonecutters Island and east of the island of Tsing Yi respectively. In the PADS study the consultants advised that the earliest the airport could be opened was January 1998. However, in reaching the government’s decision, this date was modified to January 1997, six months prior to the handover of the Territory to China. Construction of the new airport began in 1991. As construction continued, an agreement was reached with China that as much as possible of the airport would be completed before the handover to China in July 1997. In the event, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened the Tsing Ma Bridge, the main access to Lantau Island and the airport and its supporting community in May 1997, prior to the transfer of sovereignty to China. The airport itself was opened in July 1998.

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