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Old January 10th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #3241
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United flight attendants slam executive bonuses
8 January 2010
The Standard





About 60 United Airlines flight attendants protested yesterday at Chek Lap Kok airport, joining colleagues around the world in picketing the carrier over management's failure to negotiate a new contract on time.

The protesters said it is not right for the chief executive and senior management to reward themselves with millions of dollars in bonuses but not give them a contract that allows their families a decent lifestyle.

Carrying placards that read ``Pay cuts 7 years too long,'' they chanted slogans as they walked around the UA counter.

They said they are angry that executives are still collecting bonuses, while workers were forced to endure pay cuts since United filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002.

The local president of the Association of Flight Attendants, Jack Kande, said members' contracts should have been amended yesterday to end the pay cuts, improve working conditions, and restore the pension plan cancelled seven years ago.

UA attendants also protested in Frankfurt, London, Tokyo and the United States.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #3242
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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:37 PM   #3243
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Drunk Indians harass crew in business class, offloaded in Hong Kong
13 January 2010
The Economic Times

BEIJING/NEW DELHI: It's not just "cattle class" on the domestic circuit that is witness to passengers turning boorish, and embarrassing co-passengers by harassing the airline staff, sexually or otherwise. Some Indians are taking the behaviour to international business class too.

On December 30, three Indian business class fliers on Cathay Pacific (flight CX695), which was to leave Hong Kong for New Delhi at 10.20pm, got drunk at the airport lounge and misbehaved with the waitresses there. One of them held a diplomatic passport.

When the waitresses refused to give them more drinks, they turned abusive. But realizing they were running late, they proceeded to board the aircraft.

Once in, they demanded even more alcohol. The air hostesses, sensing that the three passengers were already sloshed, refused to serve them more drinks.

To the utter shock and embarrassment of several Indian co-fliers, the three then began questioning the crew's morals in Hindi, mouthing filthy abuses.

The flight was delayed by 30 minutes due to the fracas. The captain, on hearing about the ruckus, called for the drunk passengers to be offloaded.

On their way out, one of them flashed his red diplomatic passport and threatened dire consequences for Cathay Pacific.

One of them, with a diplomatic passport, abused the air hostesses who were serving other business class passengers.

Cathay Pacific's Corporate Communication manager Elin Wong in Hong Kong said: ''We can confirm that three passengers were offloaded from CX695 from Hong Kong to Delhi on 30 December due to a concern that in the captain's opinion one of them appeared intoxicated. All three were offloaded as they were travelling together. The safety and well-being of our passengers is of paramount importance to us. We are not able to confirm the identities of these passengers."

''The flight was delayed by half an hour as we were awaiting many passengers who were connecting onto the Hong Kong-Delhi flight from an incoming delayed flight and not solely due to this incident.''

A passenger on the same flight, on condition of anonymity, said, ''Such passengers bring the country into disrepute. These men were obnoxiously drunk and disgusting in their behaviour. There should be some way of penalizing or punishing them. Unless an example is made of them, they won't mend their outrageous ways.''
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:26 AM   #3244
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Plane trainees in limbo over `cheap labor' row
The Standard
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A group of aircraft maintenance trainees from Fujian may be allowed to remain in Hong Kong until their dispute with Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company is settled.
The Federation of Trade Unions said immigration officials are looking at their case.

The 140 trainees claim they were made to work here as "cheap labor" and made to work two to three hours extra a day without overtime pay.

Dozens of trainees demonstrated outside the Harbour Building in Sheung Wan yesterday demanding that their claims be settled.

However, HAECO insists it has no contract with the trainees who are employed by a subsidiary, Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd.

The training program has been halted, which technically means the trainees have to leave Hong Kong.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Ip Wai-ming said yesterday some of the trainees have already met with government officials and that the Labour Department is seeking more details from HAECO.

Ip said that the Immigration Department might consider extending the trainees' stay until the end of their contract period with Taikoo.

The longest contract is for 18 months, while the shortest is for five months.

The contract requires the trainees to work 286 hours a month, but they claim they are being made to work two to three hours overtime without any payment.

They also claim they are only given four days off every three weeks.

Some organizations have offered to help the trainees during their stay.

A government spokesman said that, under existing legislation, the Labour Department is obliged to follow up on disputes between employers and employees.

"However, with regard to the trainees from Xiamen, they do not have an employer-employee relationship with HAECO," the spokesman said.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #3245
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Hong Kong December Airport Passenger Traffic, Cargo Throughput Rise

Hong Kong December Airport Passenger Traffic, Cargo Throughput Rise
http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock ... rgo-throughput-rise


Passenger traffic at Hong Kong's airport rose 3.4% in December from a year earlier due a rise in travel from the city's residents, the Airport Authority Hong Kong said Sunday.

The authority, which operates Hong Kong's international airport, said the airport handled 4.18 million passengers in December.

Cargo throughput rose 36% from a year earlier to 330,000 metric tons in December. It said recovery in foreign trade between China and western economies, as well as the need to replenish inventories in the U.S. and European markets, led to surge in demand for air cargo transportation.

Airport Authority Chief Executive Stanley Hui said in the light of signs of improvement in the global economy and continued strong growth in mainland China, he expects passenger traffic and cargo throughput to return to growth in 2010.

"The across-the-board improvements in air traffic figures for the last quarter, especially in comparison with the first three quarters, indicate that business is gradually flowing back to Hong Kong International Airport," Hui said, adding airlines have also been increasing flight frequencies or restoring services that had previously been suspended.

In 2009, passenger traffic at Hong Kong's airport totaled 46.1 million, down 5.0% from a year earlier, and cargo throughput fell 7.7% to 3.35 million tons.

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Old January 21st, 2010, 04:46 PM   #3246
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 08:09 PM   #3247
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Aviation passenger fuel surcharges
Friday, January 22, 2010
Government Press Release

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) today (January 22) gave approval for passenger fuel surcharges levied by three airlines to be maintained for the period from February 1-28.

The maximum levels of fuel surcharges will remain at $78 for short-haul flights and $362 for long-haul flights. The applicable surcharge levels are based on the ticket issue date. (These airlines and their newly approved fuel surcharge levels are listed in the Annex.)

It is an international practice for airlines to levy passenger fuel surcharges.

A CAD spokesman said, "When compared with the average amounts of surcharges at the international level, the surcharges on the local routes remain at a lower level."

"Fuel surcharges are a type of aviation tariff which requires the approval of the relevant aeronautical authorities before they can be levied," the CAD spokesman said.

When dealing with the latest applications for levying fuel surcharges, CAD has followed the same approach, having regard to changes in the prices of aviation fuel, the justifications provided by the airline operators, and other relevant factors such as the charges levied by the other airlines. This approach has been consistently followed in dealing with fuel surcharge applications regardless of whether the oil prices are on the increase or decrease.

Passenger fuel surcharges seek to allow airlines to partially recover the increase in operational costs due to fluctuations in aviation fuel prices.

Passenger fuel surcharges are reviewed regularly by CAD. The last review was done at the end of December last year when the maximum surcharge levels approved by CAD were $78 for short-haul flights and $362 for long-haul flights.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 07:00 AM   #3248
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Old January 25th, 2010, 04:09 AM   #3249
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LCQ11: Air traffic in the Pearl River Delta region
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 20):

Question :

Some members of the aviation industry have relayed to me that air routes and airspace open for civil aviation in the Pearl River Delta ("PRD") region are insufficient, and with four other airports (including Macao, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai) within 65 kilometres of Hong Kong, the flights on many air routes have to make an additional detour or fly to a certain flight level to ensure safety, which has not only increased the flight time, but has also resulted in flight delays from time to time. They have indicated that with the rapid growth in the aviation industry and an increasing number of flights, the problem of air traffic congestion in the airspace over the PRD region will become more serious and will affect Hong Kong's air transport volume. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) of the respective numbers of departure and arrival flights in Hong Kong in each of the past three years which, because of air traffic flow control by the mainland authorities and air traffic congestion in the airspace over the PRD region, had to either circle in the air after not being allowed to land or wait on the apron for a long time before being allowed to take off, and were thus delayed, as well as their respective percentages in the total number of departure and arrival flights in Hong Kong during the corresponding period;

(b) given that the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD") has introduced new air routes since October 22 last year, and has shortened the arrival routes for flights from west and north of Hong Kong to help save fuel consumption, of the number of arrival flights which had used the new air routes since their introduction, and the major countries from which such flights departed; whether it has assessed the additional air transport volume to be brought to Hong Kong by the new air routes; and

(c) of the latest result and progress in the optimisation of regional airspace design, improvement to the allocation of flight levels, standardisation of interface protocols and standards of air traffic control facilities and increase in air routes for civil aviation between the PRD region and the northern and eastern parts of the Mainland since the establishment of the PRD Air Traffic Management Implementation Working Group by CAD, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China and the Macao Civil Aviation Authority in February 2004, as well as what medium and long-term work plans it has to increase the runway capacity and air transport volume of Hong Kong's airport?

Reply:

President,

(a) In the past 3 years, the numbers of departure flights delayed on the apron at the Hong Kong International Airport ("HKIA") due to air traffic flow control by the Mainland authorities are tabulated below:

Year Total number of Number of departure
departure flights flights delayed (%)

2007 148,645 2,409 (1.62)
2008 151,327 2,114 (1.40)
2009 140,332 2,045 (1.46)
Total 440,304 6,568 (1.49)

On arrival flights departing from Mainland airports, these flights constitute about 12% of the total arrival flights of the HKIA. Air traffic flow control by the Mainland authorities would mainly affect these flights in that the departure time of the flights might be delayed, but the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD") does not have the statistics on flights actually delayed due to flow control.

Given the need for the Pearl River Delta ("PRD") airspace to cater for the operating capacities of five airports, there are certain limitations in the design of the air routes to ensure flight safety. These include the requirement for some flights (mainly those arriving from the Mainland) to detour a certain distance before they can land at the HKIA. Apart from the over-crowdedness of the PRD airspace, flight operations to and from Hong Kong are also affected by other factors such as weather and the geographical environment of Hong Kong. It is therefore difficult to quantify in simple terms the impact of over-crowdedness of the PRD airspace on the flight operations in Hong Kong (including possible flight delays).

(b) Commencing on October 22, 2009, CAD implemented new air routes which shortened the travelling distance for arrival aircraft from the west and the north of Hong Kong. Since then, each flight coming to Hong Kong from the Mainland, South East Asia and Europe has been able to save up to about 210 km in flight journey or 14 minutes in flight time. Based on the traffic figures in the first quarter of 2009, it is estimated that the new routes can save a total of more than 10 million km in flight journey or 12,000 hours in flight time for arrival aircraft each year. With an average of about 150 flights per day using the new routes, the routes benefit about 8 million passengers annually.

To increase the air traffic capacity requires complementary measures including those on airspace, air traffic control procedures and systems. The above-mentioned shortened air routes aim primarily at shortening the flight journey and flight time of aircraft and do not directly help to increase the runway capacity or air transport capacity of our airport.

(c) The PRD Air Traffic Management Planning and Implementation Working Group ("the Working Group") was established by CAD of Hong Kong, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Macao Civil Aviation Authority in 2004. So far 15 meetings have been held to discuss measures to enhance the PRD airspace.

Through the concerted efforts of the three sides, an additional handover point and a corresponding air route have been established between the Guangzhou and Hong Kong Flight Information Regions since end 2006 to cater for flights overflying Hong Kong and landing in Guangzhou. The airspace of the Zhuhai Terminal Area is also planned to undergo reorganisation and expansion within this year to facilitate the flow of air traffic in the region.

To resolve the issue of airspace over-crowdedness in the long run, the Working Group has formulated an integrated plan based on the principles of joint airspace planning, use of common standards and harmonised flight procedure design. To improve airspace planning and air traffic management in the region, the plan encompasses various measures to rationalise airspace design, enhance flight levels distribution, standardise interface and protocols of air traffic control systems, and establish additional civil aviation air routes for flights to and from the northern and the eastern parts of the Mainland.

According to the plan, the three sides will seek to progressively improve the existing air traffic operations in the short-term, whereas in the medium to long-term, the aim will be to rationalise the PRD airspace management, air traffic control and flight procedures. The tripartite Working Group is discussing various specific measures to implement the plan, including the establishment of additional peripheral air routes to the east and west of the PRD, and a study on the feasibility of integrating departure release for airports in the region and setting up a common platform for the exchange of air traffic control information. Upon full implementation of the plan, the projected future air traffic growth in the region will be met by the enhanced PRD airspace capacity.

While efforts are being made to enhance the use of the PRD airspace, CAD has been taking measures to gradually increase the runway capacity of the two existing runways of the HKIA, with a view to achieving the target of 68 aircraft movements per hour by 2015. These measures include the rationalisation of flight procedures, recruitment of additional air traffic controllers, and replacement of the air traffic control system in 2013. To fulfil the development needs of the aviation industry, the Airport Authority Hong Kong ("AAHK") will carry out a mid-field expansion project to provide additional aircraft stands and apron facilities and a new passenger concourse, increasing the handling capacity of the airport to 70 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo per annum. This is expected to cope with air traffic demand up to 2020. AAHK is also undertaking the Airport Master Plan 2030 Study to review the airport facilities with a view to maintaining the status and competitive edge of Hong Kong as an international and regional aviation hub. A key issue in the study is the possibility of building a third runway. The study is expected to be completed within this year.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #3250
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LCQ7: Regulating the level of alcohol concentration of pilots while discharging duties
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon Raymond Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 13):

Question:

It has been reported that in recent years, incidents involving pilots discharging duties on international civilian passenger aircraft while being drunk happened from time to time, and such behaviour seriously affected the safety of passengers and other crew members. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the maximum allowable level of alcohol concentration, as prescribed in the relevant legislation of Hong Kong, of civilian passenger aircraft pilots while discharging duties on aircraft; whether such a requirement is the same as those on the Mainland and in other developed countries; what measures the authorities have in place at present to ensure that the level of alcohol concentration of civilian passenger aircraft pilots while they are discharging duties on flights departing from Hong Kong complies with the statutory requirement; and

(b) of the number of civilian passenger aircraft pilots who were prosecuted in each of the past five years for breaching the relevant legislation in Hong Kong because they discharged duties while being drunk, as well as the names of the airline companies to which they belonged?

Reply:

President,

(a) To ensure aviation safety, we have adopted various measures to prevent pilots of civil aircraft from performing duties under the influence of alcohol or other psychoactive substances. These include enacting legislation in accordance with international standards to regulate airlines and issuing appropriate guidelines for industry players.

According to Annex 1 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"), crew members shall not exercise the privileges of their licences (including pilot licences) while under the influence of any psychoactive substance (including alcohol) which might render them unable to exercise these privileges safely and properly. The Convention has not prescribed a maximum allowable level of alcohol concentration for crew members.

Regarding the laws of Hong Kong, in order to implement the relevant requirements in the Convention, Article 49(2) of the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995, Subsidiary Legislation C under the Civil Aviation Ordinance (Cap 448) (hereinafter referred to as "the Order") stipulates that a person shall not, when acting as a crew member, be under the influence of psychoactive substances (including alcohol) to such an extent as to impair his capacity so to act. According to Article 91(6) of the Order, contravention of the provision could lead to a fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

On airline regulation, the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD") requires all airlines holding a Hong Kong Air Operator's Certificate ("AOC") to develop a set of detailed and stringent operating requirements in their operations manuals for the purpose of monitoring the safety conduct of their crew members. These include measures to manage the consumption of alcoholic beverages by the crew members. CAD will vet the operations manuals for compliance with the relevant international standards and guidelines as well as the requirements of the laws of Hong Kong. Moreover, Articles 102 and 86(1) of the Order require airlines holding AOCs to respectively implement a safety management system and report to CAD incidents that may affect aviation safety, including any incident in which crew members performed duties while under the influence of psychoactive substances (including alcohol) and affected aviation safety.

On the other hand, having regard to the relevant guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation ("ICAO"), CAD has also advised all persons performing crew duties in Hong Kong to avoid the influence of alcohol during a certain period of time before and while they are on duty to ensure aviation safety. This is done through the issue of the Aeronautical Information Circular to the crew members.

The above measures fully comply with ICAO's standards and relevant requirements.

Certain civil aviation authorities (including those of the Mainland, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia) further prescribe in their local legislation the maximum allowable level of alcohol concentration of crew members, generally ranging from 20 to 40 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

CAD will continue to monitor the international safety standards and the effectiveness of the relevant measures, and review our legislation and safety guidelines as necessary.

(b) In the past 5 years, CAD has not received any complaint or incident report about crew members of civil aircraft suspected to have performed duties while under the influence of psychoactive substances (including alcohol), and there has not been any prosecution against any crew member for such reason.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #3251
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LD's response to trainees from Xiamen incident
Government Press Release
Monday, January 11, 2010

In response to media enquiries on the incident regarding trainees from Xiamen, a spokesman for the Labour Department gave the following statement:

Under existing labour legislation, the Labour Department will follow up on labour disputes between employers and employees.

According to the training contracts of the batch of trainees from Xiamen with a Mainland enterprise (Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Company Limited), they did not have employer and employee relationship with the Hong Kong training organisation (Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Limited).

However, the Labour Department is in touch with relevant parties, including the Immigration Department, the union and the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Limited, to seek more understanding of the incident.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 04:36 PM   #3252
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Old January 28th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #3253
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Cathay jet in take-off scare at Chek Lap Kok
28 January 2010
SCMP

A Cathay Pacific plane with 243 passengers on board was forced to abort take-off from Chek Lap Kok when another passenger plane took a wrong turn and almost strayed into its path.

The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 was heading down the runway at 40 knots after being given clearance to take off, when an air traffic controller noticed a Hong Kong Airlines jet heading into the far end of the runway and told the captain to abort.

However, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said there had been no risk of a crash.

The incident on January 13 occurred when the Hong Kong Airlines Boeing 737, taxiing towards a runway for a flight to Hangzhou , missed a turn for a taxiway and ended up on a high-speed exit off the southern runway. The Civil Aviation Department spokesman said it was investigating and had received reports from both airlines.

He said Hong Kong Airlines flight 128 stopped at red ground lights marking the edge of the runway exit and the runway itself. "There was no risk of collision," he said.

The alarm was raised by the air traffic controller at about 8.20pm as the Hong Kong Airlines plane lost its way and moved towards the path of the Cathay plane, which had begun its take-off roll.

The spokesman said: "The air traffic controller had just cleared ... Cathay Pacific CX 468, for take-off on the south runway." With uncertainty over the Hong Kong Airlines plane, the controller gave instructions to the departing Boeing 777 to abandon the take-off.

A spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific said the Taipei-bound flight had been cleared for take-off before air traffic controllers cancelled the clearance. The flight eventually took off after a delay of about 20 minutes.

"The [Cathay Pacific] aircraft was moving along the runway at low speed - 40 knots - and the safety of passengers on board and the aircraft itself was at no time at stake."

Hong Kong Airlines spokeswoman Francisca Chu confirmed in a written response that an internal investigation was under way. She declined to say if the pilot and co-pilot involved in the incident had been suspended.

She added: "Flight safety is always of prime concern to Hong Kong Airlines ... we have received no comments from the Civil Aviation Department regarding operational safety, and our air operator's certificate has been renewed just recently."

The runway incursion is the second major incident involving Hong Kong Airlines pilots losing their way at Chek Lap Kok. In September 2008, the carrier suspended a pilot and his co-pilot and later sacked them after they tried to take off from a taxiway rather than a runway.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 03:24 PM   #3254
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THE TRAVELERS' LOUNGE, WORLD'S LARGEST COMMERICAL LOUNGE
OPENS AT EAST HALL, TERMINAL 1, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


"The Ultimate Pre-flight Experience"
Transforming your idle time at the airport into fabulous fun and affordable luxury lifestyle

As a pioneer of the "pay-in airport lounge" concept, The Travelers' Lounge, is ready to attract the travelers with the opening of the world's largest commercial lounge in January 2010.

Featuring 15,000 sq ft of grandeur and luxury, this flagship lounge is located in Terminal 1, near Departure Gate 1 at the Hong Kong International Airport. No expense has been spared from the tasteful designer furnishings to the private members club style service.Everything is built to give travelers the perfect pre-flight pampering.The concept, a brainchild of Mr.Song Hoi See, Founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited has been created to bring the level of luxurious comfort unheard of previously in the world.

It is divided into different zones to suit the mood of the visitors. "The aim is to give all travelers the ultimate pre-flight experience.It is the fusion of innovation, creativity and designer luxury," says Mr.Song Hoi See, Founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited.

Upon arrival at the grand entrance, the tasteful decor is graciously accentuated by the displays of authentic antique statues from Han dynasties. Adjacent to the reception, a lively oval-shaped bar dominates the heart of the lounge.In a new concept that brings together traditional coffee houses and high-end chic wine bars, the lounge also provides the irresistible freshly baked pastries.Take a seat and our baristas will serve you with a selection of specialty coffees and a fudge chocolate brownie topped with a scoop of home-made ice-cream.

For those with an appetite, there will be a sumptuous all day buffet which includes authentic Hong Kong style culinary delights, heart-warming mini-clay pot steamed rice with a choice of toppings.There are also drinks, treats and healthy snacks at our renowned noodle and salad bar for the health-conscious.In keeping with the international travelers passing through the airport, there are also choices of Vegetarian and Halal food.Airport lounge catering has never been that enticing!

For the busy business executives, wireless hot spots are available.On top of that, there is also a full service business centre with fully equipped workstations and networked printers for last-minute proposal printing. There is also a secluded library, featuring Hong Kong's rich and varied historical images over the decades. The library, whilst historic in design, is equipped with the latest hi-tech meeting facilities such as large screen LCD TV and video conferencing system.

After a hectic day, sometimes all you want to do is chill out.Check out the Galleria, an oasis of tranquillity. Featuring extra-wide sofas with extra leg room, there is also a 24 hours a-la-carte menu, wine bar, private resting suite with shower. This is to pamper the tired and stressed out executives who are rushing to catch a flight straight from work.

In terms of entertainment, the lounge area which surrounds the bar features designer plush leather sofas, LCD TV with international channels showing flight schedule, news, latest movies and sporting events.

For the ultimate pre-flight indulgence, take advantage of our in-lounge spa that features a full range of spa enjoyment: oxygen therapy, soothing massage, barber services, manicure and pedicure services. Don't forget to try out the first in Asia, the "Haslauer Soft-Pack System". This popular European spa treatment is currently rocking the spa industry worldwide. Suspended gravity-free, your body is relieved of all pressure on the spine and joints, allowing you to slip into a state of deep relaxation.

"We are proud to be the first to provide this treatment to travelers. The beauty of this treatment is to leaving you with the pleasant sensation of floating weightlessly without getting wet. Perfect for a long-haul flight pre-pamper," Mr.Song adds.








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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:42 PM   #3255
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Airport exhibition features Hong Kong's cultural heritage
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Government Press Release







Visitors who leave Hong Kong from the Hong Kong International Airport will, from this month (February), be able to get a glimpse of the city's cultural heritage before they leave.

The spectacular display of colourful artefacts includes lanterns, embroidered canopy, placard leading the fire dragon, mooncake box, and the head of dragon boat.

The exhibition, entitled "Discovering Hong Kong's Cultural Traditions", presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Airport Authority Hong Kong, is on display near Gate 35 on the departure level in Terminal 1. Twenty-four colourful exhibits on display were carefully selected to enhance visitors' understanding of the traditional Chinese festivals and customs in Hong Kong, such as the Lunar New Year, Ta Chiu Festival (festival of peace and renewal), Tin Hau Festival, the fire dragon dance of Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Bun Festival and Cantonese opera.

The exhibition, which will run until the end of 2010, is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors. Departing passengers may access the exhibition at Gate 35 via the automated walkway along the Central Concourse or by the Automated People Mover (APM).

The airport will hold a series of festive activities such as Lion Dance and greeting the passengers by God-of-Fortune and, Tiger Moscot around the Chinese New Year.

Being a world cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong embraces a unique identity blending Chinese and Western cultures. The Hong Kong International Airport, which is acclaimed as a world-class airport receiving more than 100,000 air passengers a day, provides an ideal venue for cultural exchanges and plays a vital role in the promotion of local culture.

LCSD first collaborated with Airport Authority in 2001 to stage a pilot exhibition entitled "A Glimpse of Hong Kong's Heritage" which featured 39 exhibits at the Departures Hall and Arrival Hall in the Passenger Terminal Building. The collaboration proved to be a resounding success. The subsequent thematic exhibitions, "Formal Dialogue - Sculptures by Hong Kong Masters", "Glamour of Earth - Contemporary Hong Kong Ceramics" and "Rhyme of White" were also well received. Focusing primarily on how the territory's local communities maintain the folk culture of traditional festivities in their own unique ways, the current exhibition showcases Hong Kong's colourful intangible cultural heritage.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #3256
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Meteorological experts shaping future of aviation weather services
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Government Press Release

More than 100 world experts in aviation meteorology are taking part in the 14th session of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM) of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which began in Hong Kong today (February 3).

The session, which continues until next Wednesday (February 10), marks the first time a major international meeting on aeronautical meteorology has been held in Asia. The Secretary-General of WMO, Mr Michel Jarraud; President of the WMO CAeM, Mr Carr McLeod; Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau; and Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr Lee Boon-ying; officiated at today's opening ceremony.

Mr Jarraud highlighted issues that had significant impact on providing aviation weather services in the 21st century. These included the development of the New Terminal Forecast for the wider terminal area of busy airports, the implementation of a quality management system for aviation weather service and addressing the link between aviation and climate.

Mrs Lau commended the Hong Kong Observatory for its dedication to the provision of quality aviation weather services which upheld Hong Kong's position as a leading aviation hub in the region. She emphasised the importance of international meteorological collaboration in securing safe flight operations. Mrs Lau said this international conference helped showcase the sustained efforts the commission had made over the years in fostering collaboration between meteorological authorities through the exchange of information, as well as joint efforts in research and development.

Dr Lee stressed the importance of accurate weather forecasts and warnings to ensure safety in air traffic in the increasingly crowded skies. He said the key to achieving a higher standard of service was in the continuous enhancement of aviation weather services through putting the latest scientific knowledge into application and through active engagement with aviation users and stakeholders.

CAeM is a technical commission of WMO looking after the application of meteorology to aviation with the objective of providing meteorological support to meet the requirements of aviation for safe, economic and efficient air navigation. The commission is held every four years to discuss the progress and future development in the provision of aviation weather services.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 04:58 PM   #3257
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Old February 8th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #3258
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Old February 10th, 2010, 05:50 AM   #3259
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Customs 2009 year-end press conference
Government Press Release Excerpt
Thursday, February 4, 2010

The following is a statement by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, at a Customs press conference to review its work in 2009 today (February 4):

The key responsibilities of the Customs and Excise Department are conducting customs clearance for import and export cargoes and taking enforcement action against offenders in breach of the law.

The Department's enforcement work which has direct impact on the public includes anti-smuggling, revenue protection (i.e. combatting illicit-cigarette and illicit-fuel activities), anti-narcotics, intellectual property rights protection and consumer rights protection.

In the past year, the Department detected a total of 21,074 cases, an increase of 4% over the year before, and arrested a total of 13,610 persons with seizures worth $930 million in total, a drop of 13% compared with the year before.

Similar to 2008, the duty on dutiable commodities collected by the Department in 2009 amounted to $6,240 million, half of which was from tobacco ($3,130 million), followed by hydrocarbon oil ($2,850 million).

The following is the enforcement situation of various cases in the past year:

Anti-smuggling

In 2009, the Department detected 224 smuggling cases, an increase of 3% over 2008. Goods worth $420 million in total were seized with 252 persons arrested.

The goods smuggled out of Hong Kong were mostly of high value, such as computers and related accessories, electrical appliances and electronic products (mobile phones in particular), fur and seafood, whereas those smuggled into Hong Kong were mainly illicit cigarettes and copyright infringing articles.

Revenue Protection

Since the increase of tobacco duty in February last year, the Department has stepped up its efforts to combat illicit cigarette activities at different levels. As a result, 8,419 illegal cigarette cases in connection with smuggling, storage, distribution, peddling and bringing in excessive duty-free cigarettes were effected, representing an increase of about 70% compared with the previous year. However, 61 million sticks of cigarettes in connection with these cases were seized in total, which represented a drop of about 20% compared with the previous year. This indicates that with the Department's enhanced enforcement, smugglers tended to reduce the quantity for smuggling or transaction each time in order to reduce their loss upon being detected. It is estimated that the price of illicit cigarettes also rose after the increase of the duty on tobacco, thereby reducing the demand for cigarettes to a certain extent.

To further clamp down on illicit cigarette activities, we have strengthened co-operation with law enforcement agencies on the Mainland and overseas with a view to combatting large-scale cross-boundary cigarette smuggling activities to intercept illicit cigarettes from the source. Moreover, we have strengthened publicity to encourage members of the public and the industry to report illicit cigarette activities. The public is also reminded that anyone involved in buying and selling of illicit cigarettes commits an offence. Buyers of illicit cigarettes will be charged and will have a criminal record once convicted. In 2009, buyers of illicit cigarettes were sentenced up to four months' imprisonment and fined up to $20,000, while sellers of illicit cigarettes were sentenced up to 18 months' imprisonment and fined up to $20,000.

On combatting illicit fuel, during the year, the Department effected 611 cases, a drop of 45% compared with the previous year. A total of 360 persons were arrested with seizure of 320,000 litres of illicit fuel. The duty potential involved was $720,000. The number of reports on illicit fuel dropped by 32%, indicating that the scale of illicit fuel activities is declining gradually.

Anti-Narcotics

On combating drug trafficking, the Department seized a total of 652 kilogrammes of various kinds of drugs in 2009, an increase of 8% in quantity over 2008. The largest drug seizure was ketamine, with a total of 380 kilogrammes seized, which was the largest amount in the past five years. This was attributed mainly to the seizure of 196 kilogrammes and 140 kilogrammes of ketamine by the Department at the Hong Kong International Airport and Man Kam To Control Point in July and September respectively. The second largest drug seizure was cannabis with a seizure of over 70 kilogrammes. As regards methylamphetamine (ice), the seizure recorded a 120% increase, to 31.5 kilogrammes compared with last year.

In 2009, 544 drug cases were detected with 491 persons arrested, representing a decrease of about 20% compared with 2008. Among the arrested, 49 persons were aged below 21, representing a drop of 26% compared with last year. It is believed that the stepped up enforcement at the various control points since the beginning of the year two years ago has created a deterrence to cross-boundary drug-trafficking and drug abuse activities.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #3260
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