skyhigh777
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Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:17 am

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.
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Morvious
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:24 am

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
 
Tomys
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:27 am

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
 
SlamClick
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:32 am

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.
 
skyhigh777
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:44 am

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!
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HT
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:53 am

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 !
 
tjr16698
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:50 am

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.
 
skyhigh777
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:15 am

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.
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Francoflier
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:24 am

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...?
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
skyhigh777
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:34 am

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.
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PipoA380
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:07 am


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Photo © Alexander Kueh


Sad, but that's how it looks like today!
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utapao
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:14 am

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!
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foilcat
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:56 am

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.
 
HT
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:12 pm

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 !
 
Meerkat
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:16 pm

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).
 
ourboeing
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:04 pm

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
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:06 pm

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
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Photo © Andrew Abshier

Etc, etc.
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spacecadet
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:01 am

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!
 
fraspotter
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:10 am

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.
"Taking off is optional. It’s landing that’s mandatory."
 
trex8
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:49 am

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!
 
cx777fan
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:54 am

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!
 
soundtrack
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:52 am

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!
 
EddieIAH
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:48 pm

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
 
HT
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:14 pm

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 !
 
TomFoolery
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:07 am

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
 
Tan Flyr
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:23 am

But is WAS a thrill to ride in on that approach. I'll never forget the experience.
 
Meerkat
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:56 am

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 17):
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.

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...
 
HKGKaiTak
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:17 pm

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 17):
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.

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 the flight path ...

Don't forget the residents are overjoyed they can now demolish whatever they had and build a block of flats. Now that height restriction is lifted there's so many new office towers and blocks of flats around the Kowloon Peninsula where they were only buildings a few storeys high. They all look rather out of place ... maybe that's becos as a child I lived on Argyle St and not far north of this (Boundary St) the height restriction started - in a north-facing flat higher than the rest of the buildings beyond I had spent my childhood watching the checkerboard turn ...

(If you were to fly into Kai Tak on the checkerboard approach nowadays, you might find you'd run straight into some blocks of flats ...  Smile )
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n949wp
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:57 pm

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 buildings on Boundary St., right across from the St. Teresa's Hospital. Like you said, with buildings to the north and east of us increasingly height-restricted, I certainly had an unobstructed view out of my bedroom window of every plane that swept by the checkerboard heading for a 13 landing (or aborting!).

My most vivid memories though, were of those planes on MTOW doing 31 takeoffs. I recall seeing 747SP's on non-stop trans-Pac flights or heavily-laden DC-8F's or 747F's thundering by the checkerboard at altitudes similar to those of 13 landing approaches!! Now THAT was a sight to behold!!  eyepopping 

If only I could afford a camera back then.......

'949
HKG
 
Sepang
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RE: Why Was The Old Hong Kong Airport Closed?

Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:48 pm

Quoting HT (Reply 23):
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 ...

This picture can testify what you said.

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alexander Kueh