The Airport Authority of Hong Kong is beginning the relocation from Kai Tak to the territory's new international gateway at Chek Lap Kok two months ahead of its scheduled opening on 6 July.

The formal move to the new HK$70.7 billion ($9.1 billion) Hong Kong International Airport starts on 6 May. "The transition to Chek Lap Kok will go ahead by land, sea, and air," explains Richard Siegel, director of Hong Kong's civil aviation department. About 1,000 consignments of equipment will take place during an 8h period on the night of 5-6 July.

Much of this will comprise essential airside equipment which cannot be moved until Kai Tak shuts. According to the Authority, the move entails moving four times as much as was moved to Denver 's new airport.

While construction of the airport passenger terminal, air traffic control centre and Category II runway 25L/07R is complete, finishing work is still under way at the two cargo handling centres and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering's new three-bay maintenance hanger.

Trials with a Cathay Pacific Airways airliner will begin shortly and run through to mid-June. During the first month, the airport will operate at the same capacity as Kai Tak, with up to 31 aircraft movements an hour. This will increase subsequently to 37 and then 40 with the opening of a second runway on 1 December.

Source: Flight International