Saturday, April 23, 2011
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport (赤鱲角機場), because it was built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.
The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998, replacing Kai Tak, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with over 40 destinations) and the rest of Asia. Despite a relatively short history, Hong Kong International Airport has won eight Skytrax World Airport Awards for customer satisfaction in just eleven years. HKIA ranked second and third in 2009 and 2010 respectively for the Skytrax World Airport Awards, and remains as the best airport taking into account passenger numbers annually, and has also won the Skytrax World Airport of the Year 2011.
HKIA also operates one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings (the world's largest when opened in 1998) and operates twenty-four hours a day. The airport is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express Airways, Hong Kong Airlines and Air Hong Kong (cargo). It is a focus city for Air New Zealand, and to a lesser extent Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, both of which use Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights on the Kangaroo Route between Australasia and Europe. Both United Airlines and Air India use Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights respectively from the United States to Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City as well as from India to Osaka and Seoul. In the near future, Garuda Indonesia is considering making Hong Kong their transit hub for flights to Europe while Swiss International Air Lines considers Hong Kong to be a major transfer hub for its network. This shows that Hong Kong International Airport is a key Asian airport for global airline operations.
The airport has a total of 70 boarding gates, with 63 jet bridge gates and seven virtual gates which are used as assembly points for passengers, who are then ferried to the aircraft by apron buses. Of the 63 jet bridges, five are capable of handling the Airbus A380. Singapore Airlines and Emirates currently deploy A380s to Hong Kong and use those gates.