Kai Tak Airport

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The airport Hong Kong Kai Tak was a mansion in Hong Kong airport, notorious for its complicated approach and the most prevailing heavy winds. He was one of the most difficult aerodrome in the world. Until its closure on July 6, 1998, he was based airline Cathay Pacific, Air Hong Kong, Hong Kong Airways and Dragonair, and was one of the busiest airports in the world.


The airport Hong Kong Kai Tak was located north of Hong Kong, Kowloon Bay and north of Victoria Harbour. In the near vicinity of the airport are high mountains. About two kilometers to the northwest lies the 495 -meter high Lion Rock. About five kilometers south is Hong Kong Iceland with up to 640 meters high elevations.

The airport had only one start and runway that ran in Southeast North West direction ( 134/314 degrees) and was designated by the numerals 13 and 31. This railway was extended twice. When the airport was closed in 1998, the runway was 3,390 feet long. The runway started right in front of the Prince Edward Road and stood by land fills far into the Victoria Harbour. Some passengers say they have due to the low flyover height when modified ILS approach, the so-called " IGS approach ", the flicker of the TV can be seen in the houses on runway 13.


Eponym for the airport were the masters Ho Kai and Au Tak. They formed in 1922 an investment company to gain land in the Kowlooner bay. 1924 a flight school was opened on a grass surface. This part of the country gained Kai Tak was called. It was the basis for the later airport. 1936 first domestic flights were then added. When Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese in 1941, built this a second airstrip. In 1954 it was decided to build a modern airport. One reason for this was that the budget surpluses of the colonial power could not be transferred abroad. In 1957 a new 2194 meter long runway was completed and extended in 1970 and 1975. The terminal building was completed in 1962. 1974 instrument landing system was installed. At this time settlements and the airport were still far apart. Over the years, however, extended from either airport or settlements and soon went almost into each other.

In 1998, the air traffic to the new Chek Lap Kok, 30 km located outside the city center airport was relocated. Some years earlier were plans to re-use the old, about 2.5 km ² Kai Tak area created. Initially, there should be erected dwellings for up to 320,000 people. Due stepped back expectations for the population growth, the number of planned housing was later reduced to about 86,000 men according to a capacity. Construction of the new district should take place in 2008, with completion in 2012. Besides housing should arise even a cruise ship port, commercial and office buildings, a sports stadium and a convention hall on the grounds. The opening of the cruise terminal scheduled for mid- 2013.

Approach conditions

A special feature of the airport was the " checkerboard approach " to runway 13 Due to its location with a mountain range in the background was a direct approach over land towards the sea very difficult, but indispensable due to the usually prevailing wind direction. The wireless transmitter based instrument landing system differed from that of other Airports:

The Gleitpfadsender not led to the runway threshold, but on a nearby hill on the outskirts, the Checkerboard Hill ( this was marked with a red and white checkerboard pattern, the " Checkerboard "). Also the localizer did not lead to the runway threshold, but on a sports park near the checkerboard patterned hills. The approach course was rotated with respect to the runway by 48 °.

Rate and gleitpfadgestützte instrument landing systems usually carry the abbreviated name ILS. Since Kai Tak but deviated from this norm, his system was not as ILS, but in order to avoid misinterpretation, as IGS (Instrument Guided System) called. Pilots need a special license for its use.

These technical challenges there was the fact that the approach led over densely populated areas.

The pilot had to fly first in accordance with glide slope and localizer sports park near the Checkerboard and after reaching the main ingress character ( MM) take a right turn and precisely follow the course of the arcuate approach flash lights to come on runway direction. After discharging the curve he had only a few seconds to stabilize the aircraft for landing. Too late landing, or too wide a flare behind the runway threshold, was dangerous for two reasons: first, the runway ended in water, secondly belonged extreme crosswind gusts of everyday life. Of these aircraft were often pushed just before touch down at the web center. Because of the proximity to the city but had to be avoided but also early placement; the placement in front of white threshold mark was also fined.

In addition to these problems, the capacity of the airport was the growing volume of traffic can no longer cope. Even before the end of British colonial rule, work on the new Chek Lap Kok airport were taken, which was completed in 1998 and replaced Kai Tak.

Overcrowding in the 90s

When planning the passenger terminal of the airport in 1960 for 24 million passengers was designed in the year. In 1996, however, 29.5 million passengers and 1.56 million tons of cargo were handled. That made Kai Tak - measured by passenger numbers - the world's third largest international airport as well - in terms of the transhipped cargo - the largest international airport. The settlement in the nearby town center ( in the approach path of runway 13 were the houses have a maximum of six floors ) and a ban on night flights zwischen 0 und 6:30 clock clock ultimately led to the closure of the airport.


On the night of 6 to 7 July 1998, the last flight movements took place at the airport. Dragonair flight KA841 ( A320 ) from Chongqing ended up as the last flight at 23:38 clock to track 13 To 0:02 clock began Cathay Pacific flight CX251 ( B747 -400 ) to London Heathrow and was thus the last line of flight, which left Kai Tak. This was followed by 29 ferry flights to Chek Lap Kok new airport. The last launch of a commercial machine was at 01:03 clock the ferry flight Cathay Pacific CX3340 with an Airbus A 340 A small farewell ceremony in the Tower before the press and government officials an air traffic controller gave a speech that he and the words "Goodbye Kai Tak, thank you. " ( " Goodbye Kai Tak, and thank you " ) ended and it shuts down the runway lighting. Then all traffic has been moved to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok. All airport vehicles were transferred to a single action and also the ICAO and IATA codes were passed completely after the last departure. Since the cargo terminal at the new airport at Chek Lap Kok, however, could not be used due to technical difficulties, freight was settled until the end of August, despite landing at Chek Lap Kok on the cargo terminal at Kai Tak.

The Royal Air Force in Hong Kong

The airport Hong Kong Kai Tak was decades in parallel by the British militarily, especially used by the Royal Air Force (RAF ). He was the main base of the RAF in the colony, in addition, there were two other occupied airfields, Sek Kong and Sha Tin.

RAF Kai Tak

After the Japanese surrender, the RAF Station Kai Tak was ( briefly RAF Kai Tak ) based on different scales. Flight operations in 1946 initially reduced. Due to the Berlin blockade and the dawning Cold War, the forces were first amplified again from 1949, including through the Spitfire F24 previously stationed in Gütersloh 80th Squadron. For budgetary reasons, but went to have increased to over rotate squadrons only temporarily by Kai Tak. Durable, with intermittent stays in Sek Kong, the 28th Squadron was stationed here until 1967 that flew the Vampire, Venom and Hunter.

In the years 1968 to 1978, the station is home to helicopter squadrons, including turn of the 28th season. RAF Kai Tak was closed in 1978, after the flight operation was moved to Sek Kong.

RAF Sek Kong

The construction sec Kong had been started in 1938, due to the war the airfield but was not completed until the 1950s. Besides the two mentioned at Kai Tak squadrons, which at times were also in sec Kong, the RAF station Sek Kong was used by temporary Detachments other seasons.

After the closure of Kai Tak as an RAF station RAF Sek Kong was the only RAF base of the Crown Colony and in 1978 became home to the Wessex helicopters of the 28th Squadron. They flew to 1996 in Hong Kong.

In addition to the RAF and the Army Air Corps Sek Kong used as the basis of Scout helicopters of 660 Squadron.

Today is Sek Kong Airfield home to, among others, a dozen helicopters of the air forces of the People's Republic of China and the Government Air Service.

RAF Sha Tin

As mentioned above, it was from 1949 to reinforce the British army in Hong Kong. For this purpose was built this year, the RAF station Sha Tin and stationed after the opening light oyster AOP.6 - observation aircraft. The RAF era came to an end in 1957, when the so-called Air - Oberservation post squadrons were transferred to the newly formed Army Air Corps.

After violent destruction caused by a typhoon in 1962, the airfield was not restored, but demolished. Here is now the Sha Tin New Town.