Closure of Kai Tak Airport

Submitted by moddsey on Sat, 05/22/2010 - 13:41

After the closure of Kai Tak Airport in the early hours of the morning on July 6, 1998 a new era in the civil aviation history of Hong kong was written with the opening of the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on the same day.

Two weeks after the closure a visit was made to Kai Tak. What was once a noisy, bustling, and congested Airport looked so unbelievably quiet, barren, desolate and devoid of life. The spirit of Kai Tak had gone and so disappeared the thrill of returning to Hong Kong and flying just above the roof tops of crowded tenement blocks, washing lines and gazing into the windows of the tenants below. One thing that certainly won't be missed was the noxious stench of the Kai Tak Nullah.

Today, all the buildings associated with the Airport  have been torn down. The site has become a dirty, ugly wasteland with the awful presence of a cement mixing plant.

A very different Kai Tak from July 1998.

From Checkerboard Hill, Kowloon Tsai.

1998 Kai Tak Airport from Checkerboard Hill








Looking towards Kowloon City, Checkerboard Hill and Beacon Hill.

1998 Kai Tak Airport looking towards Checkerboard Hill and Beacon Hill








On Runway 13. Looking in a south-easterly direction towards Lyemun Gap with Devil's Peak on the left and Pottinger Peak and Mount Parker on the right.

1998 Kai Tak Runway 13 looking in a south-easterly direction








Kai Tak Runway south-east end windsock. A hot sweltering day.

1998 Kai Tak Windsock (south-east end)











On Runway 31 looking in a north-westerly direction towards Beacon Hill and Lion Rock.

1998 Kai Tak Runway 31 looking in a north-westerly direction








Near the numbers 31 someone had spray painted in yellow 'Goodbye Kai Tak'. That summed up my feelings as well as I walked back.

1998 Kai Tak (Goodbye Kai Tak)










This heavily polluting facility has had a "temporary" 3-month lease ever since Kai Tak closed, a lease that has been renewed 40 times - meaning that it has escaped the Environmental Protection Department review which would have never allowed in the first place. 

Many older people live near here and the Government is actually putting into the Central-ShaTin railway plan that this cement factory should be permanent.

What does the government want to do with the Kai Tak land, it must be worth billions and billions of dollars?  It is such a waste for letting it sit in the past 12 years with billions of dollars of loss revenue.  Are the Wong Tai Sin Estate buildings still standing or has the government demolished those also? 

... 20% of Kai Tak and much of its waterfront will be converted into roads to cope with taxis, coaches and trucks catering the terminal, adding to congestion on the rest of our road network.

Designing Hong Kong critique…

Latest Government Plan

(last page has a map)

From the Lands Department

"Please be advised that there is currently 1 existing Short Term Tenancy for concrete batching plant user within Kai Tak area.  The tenancy commenced in September 2000 with a fixed term of 2 years and thereafter running on quarterly basis.  According to our understanding from Environment Protection Department ("EPD"), EIA is not required for this concrete batching plant as it is not listed as one of the "Designated Projects" under EIAO."  

to object to the "quarterly" renewals without an Environmental Impact Report - email

Kai Tak 2008

I got it this time...........thanks alot.

Boy, those were really hair raising landings.  Glad HK now has a new airport and I hope millions of passengers per year are safer coming to HK.