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Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?  
User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9898 times:

Hey all, this is my first post on A.net, I just joined yesterday. Anyway, this may be a completely stupid and trivial question but I was always wondering why exactly the old Hong Kong Kai Tak airport was closed? Also, what are they planning to do with it now? I think it would have been fun to fly into that airport from the looks of all the old footage shot there....sorry if this has been discussed but I haven't found anything in the search about this.


Prepare for take-off.
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMorvious From Netherlands, joined Feb 2005, 707 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9880 times:

Hi welcome,

It has been discussed, but no problem there  Wink

The biggest reason was space I beleve. The old VHHK didn't had space to grow anymore, but it needed to.
More and more cargo was flown in HKG, and the Pax numbers were growing to.

With a dangerous approach and one runway, they couldn't handle any more traffic.

And with lots of competitions around in Asia (giant airports all over the place) they needed a bigger one, that was more economic to customers.

Here on a.net there are photo's what is happening to the old Kai Tak.
Its just new space for buildings. Hong Kong needs that to.



have a good day, Stefan van Hierden
User currently offlineTomys From Czech Republic, joined Mar 2005, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9871 times:

I saw documentary movie about how new Hong Kong airport was built and there were two reasons: it was quite near to bulding thus dangerous and mainly they could no longer hold such big traffic...  Smile

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9855 times:

Two questions implied here:

1. Why was Chek Lap Kok built?
2. Why was Kai Tak closed.

For number one, see posts above about difficult, dangerous approaches and lack of expansion room.

For number two, upon completion of the new airport it was no longer needed and real estate in Hong Kong is incredibly expensive. Too valuable to sit idle.

I would like to see the checkerboard left on the rock as a historical artifact. It was an amazing show there at Kai Tak.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9806 times:

Thanks for your responses guys! I can imagine with Hong Kong's booming economy and development that some new changes needed to be made in order to make a safer and more efficient way to fly to Hong Kong...it looked truly amazing though!


Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9776 times:

SkyHigh777,
Welcome on A.net !

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
Also, what are they planning to do with it now?

Read through this thread (and those linked in it) : Why Recent View Of Kai Tak Airport So Popular (by Sepang Aug 11 2005 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I haven't found anything in the search about this.

While searching for "Kai Tak" in "Civil" currently gives only 2 results, one should not forget to search also the Forum "Civil Aviation Archived" ...
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineTjr16698 From Italy, joined Feb 2004, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 9604 times:

Don't know if there's any truth to this, and it is probably irresponsible to propagate what may be a rumour without me checking it first, but I also heard that there were significant financial reasons too.
The British government was about to hand over HK, and an opportunity was seen to distribute a certain amount of wealth with a massive engineering project, which was of benefit to UK construction companies.
I'm sure that the other reasons mentioned by everyone else played a large part in the decision, just wanted to throw a small stone into the pond.
Comments anyone?
cheers

Russ

p.s. this isn't any kind of anti-UK provocation, I'm a Brit too.


User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 9546 times:

TJR16698:

I see what you are saying and I have never thought about that point...it is a good one to bring up if it really is true. Although it would benefit UK construcion companies, I assume it also benefited the new construction companies owned by Hong Kong nationals since their economy was growing so fast and the demand for real estate was so high. I guess in the end the closing of the airport and opening of a new one benefited both parties.



Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3766 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 9517 times:

I'm wildly speculating here, but does anyone believe that they might have largely cushionned the investment required to build the new airport by selling the land of the old one at, I imagine, an unbelievably high price/acre, as the land downtown HK is probably some ofthe most expensive there is...?


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9495 times:

Did they sell the land of the old airport already? I know there is a golf course at the end of the old runway, but nothing has really developed on that area of land yet. If they did sell it, though, I can imagine it must have been for an enormously generous chunk of change that they may have used to invest in the new airport. After all, Hong Kong is a striving city that needs a highly advanced and modern airport to handle the new volume coming in.


Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlinePipoA380 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1594 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9447 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alexander Kueh


Sad, but that's how it looks like today!



It's not about AIRBUS. it's not about BOEING. It's all about the beauty of FLYING.
User currently offlineUtapao From Thailand, joined Jul 2005, 645 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9424 times:

I don't miss the terminal, but I DO miss that incredible banking right turn at the checkerboard and watching TV out the aircraft window in the apartments practically at wing tip and seeing which laundry was hanging on the balconies to dry.  Silly Also, being on a really heavy 747 on take-off and knowing the water was quickly approaching always made me put my book down until we had lifted off.

Someone should set up a simulator of that landing and charge admission. I'd pay!



Sawasdee khrab!
User currently offlineFoilcat From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2001, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9251 times:

I do miss the big echo sound from the jet engines while the planes took off southeastward ( runway 31? ), especically those long haul big jets leaving about 11pm til mid-night, the city is quiet down except the flight path near Lei Yu Mun.

Some news about HKG, the passage movement in the past 12 months reaches 39.80 million paxs, and about 3.4 million tonnes of carge is expected in 2005, the highest records in HK aviation history.


User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 9099 times:

Quoting Foilcat (Reply 12):
I do miss the big echo sound from the jet engines while the planes took off southeastward ( runway 31? ),

That orientation would be "13"  Smile

Quoting Foilcat (Reply 12):
Some news about HKG, the passage movement in the past 12 months reaches 39.80 million paxs,

Almost 40 million pax ?! That´s quite a number !
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineMeerkat From Hong Kong, joined Apr 2005, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8988 times:

Quoting Utapao (Reply 11):
Someone should set up a simulator of that landing and charge admission. I'd pay!

http://www.asiamiles.com/en/redeem/events/awards/1,,121575,00.html

Not sure they still have Kai Tak on the sim, but I suspect they would (at least for guest flights).


User currently offlineOURBOEING From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 475 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 8526 times:

I would say it was mainly due to this:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Brian Butcher



Like someone else said here, it was getting extremely crowded and also the notorious approach to the airport Smile

OURBOEING


User currently offlineBoeing Nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 7562 times:

Quoting OURBOEING (Reply 15):
I would say it was mainly due to this:

And this:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Samuel Lo

And this:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Abshier

Etc, etc.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days ago) and read 7240 times:

Residents always hated Kai Tak. One of my friends' parents live in Kowloon, which is right under the old approach, and they were about the happiest people in the world when they closed that airport.

There was a Discovery Channel documentary on the building of the new airport a while back, and they basically said all of the factors mentioned here so far went into the decision. There was no room to grow at Kai Tak, so moving it would allow more growth at the airport and it would also allow the neighborhoods around Kai Tak to grow as well (from what I understand, it's not only the airport grounds itself that are being built up now, but the whole area has been re-zoned to allow for more development). It was a win-win situation.

The firms responsible for most of the building at the new airport, as well as the huge public works projects required to support it, were British. So I'm sure there were political considerations as well.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineFRAspotter From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2352 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days ago) and read 7168 times:

I also heard somewhere that Kai Tak was closed for: the dangerous approach to the airport, and that planes couldn't land at night, since it was hard enough during the day. They built the new airport so that they could have flight operations even after the sun goes down.


"Drunks run stop signs. Stoners wait for them to turn green."
User currently offlineTrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4769 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6249 times:
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Quoting FRAspotter (Reply 18):
I also heard somewhere that Kai Tak was closed for: the dangerous approach to the airport, and that planes couldn't land at night, since it was hard enough during the day.

you could definitely land at night, not past midnight or some such late time but definitely after dark! and what an experience it was too!


User currently offlineCX777FAN From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 296 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6236 times:

Could someone explain what the "checkerboard" is/was? I've heard it referred to many times, but never really understood.

I remember flights taking off from the old airport and really wondering whether we were going to make it up over the hills safely or not!


User currently offlineSoundtrack From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 284 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6173 times:

Yes - Kai Tak was great.

There are some great video/dvds you can buy from 94-98 the last day of kai tak. http://store.yahoo.com/airutopia/dvd.html

Boy everyone misses this airport!


User currently offlineEddieiah From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 39 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 6092 times:

CX777FAN,
a photo of the checkerboard:
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/049408/L/

i flew into Kai Tak in 1997...what a spectacular approach
then i saw Chep Lak Kok under construction!

EddieIAH


User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 23, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5993 times:

Quoting CX777FAN (Reply 20):
Could someone explain what the "checkerboard" is/was? I've heard it referred to many times, but never really understood.

The "Checkerboard" (see pic in reply #22) was a navigational aid:
For arrival on runway 13 a straight approach was impossible due to mountains in the flight path. Therefore an approach in north-easternly direction was flown over Kowloon heading directly into the direction of "Checkerboard". As soon as the runway was in the 2 o´clock position (viewed from the cockpit) the a/c had to bank hard to the right. This left about 10 seconds to align with runway 13 and touch down.
Failing to bank to the right while approaching "Checkerboard" would have resulted in an impact into Lion Rock (IIRC) a few seconds later ...

That banking to the right was performed at low level over a highly populated area with high-rise buildings.
Add to that a good amount of crosswinds and you get a picture here Big grin

I hope I´ve got everything correct & the info is complete ?

Quoting CX777FAN (Reply 20):
I remember flights taking off from the old airport and really wondering whether we were going to make it up over the hills safely or not!

That´ll be departures on runway 31 (i.e. into the direction of the terminal): These were performed only if winds prevented use of the runway in direction 13 (some crosswinds did NOT count for that !); soon after becoming airborne it was necessary to bank to the left in order to stay clear of the rocks. (Figure an engine loss during that manouvre ...).

Also arrivals on rwy 31 (over the "sea" resp. the eastern harbour) were not too easy, as the a/c had to fly through the Lei Yue Mun Gap which very often produced difficult crosswinds (or wind shear) !
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineTomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 529 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5874 times:

Airlines didnt like having to pay double for landings- once for the aborted landing, and once for the actual landing  Smile


Paper makes an airplane fly
25 TAN FLYR : But is WAS a thrill to ride in on that approach. I'll never forget the experience.
26 Meerkat : They didn't all hate Kai Tak! Many of us loved it, and miss it. Of course most of us didn't rent/buy property directly under an approach path...
27 Post contains images HKGKaiTak : One thing I can never understand is how people can hate an airport and complain about aircraft noise when they chose to buy property directly under t
28 Post contains images N949WP : Hey, HKGKaiTak, Didn't know you used to live so close to me. I used to live on the top floor of a north-facing flat on one of the few high-rise buildi
29 Post contains links and images Sepang : This picture can testify what you said. View Large View MediumPhoto © Alexander Kueh
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