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Old September 22nd, 2004, 11:07 PM   #341
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Fuel depot plan may mean disaster for Tuen Mun
Daniel Hilken, Hong Kong Standard

Building a huge aviation fuel depot next to a steel mill in Tuen Mun is extremely hazardous and could lead to a deadly explosion and fire, a Hong Kong court was told.

The plan by the Hong Kong Airport Authority to place fuel tanks just 100 metres from Shiu Wing Steel factory is flawed, Shiu Wing's barrister Nigel Pleming said on Wednesday.

"Even if leaking fuel is stopped by the walls of the steel mill there is still a danger of fuel or fuel vapour igniting because the furnace operates at 1,300 degrees,'' Pleming told the Court of Appeal. "Each of the tanks is the size of one tower of the Lippo Centre.''

Each storage tank can hold up to 39 million litres of aircraft fuel, previous court hearings into the case were told.

Shiu Wing is making a last bid to prevent the fuel tanks being built near the steel factory after approval was granted by the Environmental Protection Department.

The challenge by Shiu Wing has been ongoing since 2002. It has already lost an appeal in a lower court against the development plan, which envisages the depot being operational by 2006.

Shiu Wing claims that the environmental report approved by the Environmental Protection Department underestimates the danger. Pleming said that the report's "Hazard to Life'' section was flawed in concluding that the worst-case scenario was a spillage of 10 per cent of a tank's contents. He said this figure was too low and that even a 10 per cent leak could be disastrous.

Pleming referred to a report on the project commissioned by Shiu Wing from Britain's Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) which concluded: "The hazard assessment is fundamentally flawed because it fails to identify and assess the risk associated with a catastrophic failure of one of the aviation fuel storage tanks, i.e. instantaneous loss of 100 per cent of the tank contents.

"This is contrary to common practice for hazard assessment studies in Hong Kong and published international good practice.

"Furthermore, there have been past occurrences of catastrophic tank failure relevant to the [fuel depot].'' The HSL report estimated that one worst-case scenario of an explosion and fire could result in 200 people being killed at the steel factory alone.

Shiu Wing claims that the Director of Environmental Protection's approval was unlawful because the director failed to assess "quantitively'' the possibility of the entire contents of a tank spilling.

"All the fuel leaving a tank instantaneously would cause incalculable consequences. Leaving that scenario for the public without assessing its risk is unacceptable,'' Pleming told the court.

"Even if there is only a one in a billion chance of that happening the law requires an assessment of such a scenario where 1,000 people may die as a result. The director took what we say is a lax decision.''

The appeal continues.

23 September 2004 / 02:49 AM
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 06:59 PM   #342
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South China Morning Post
September 23, 2004
SECTION: Supplement; Pg. 4

Saudi Arabian Airlines Hopes to + Cargo Flights & Begin Passenger Flights to Hong Kong

Air of optimism for flights to hit higher altitudes Robust cargo traffic paves way for further opportunities with talks under way to launch direct passenger flights

SAUDI ARABIAN Airlines hopes to increase its cargo flights and to launch direct passenger routes with Hong Kong.

The airline now operates three cargo flights a week, carrying lots of consumer goods, garments, watches, electronics items, telecommunications products and many other daily necessities or novelty items to Saudi Arabia.

In a bid to strengthen ties and increase trade opportunities, the Saudi Arabian and Hong Kong governments are negotiating an agreement for direct passenger flights.

Tam Wing-kun, chairman of Intergulf Express HK and Saudi Arabian Airlines' general sales agent in Hong Kong, said direct passenger flights would hopefully be launched next year.

The Hong Kong government was adopting a welcoming attitude to secure air service deals with more international airlines, which boded well for the prospect of new routes with Saudi Arabia, Mr Tam said.

From a business viewpoint, he suggested that a direct passenger flight operation was most possible to Jeddah, which is a major commercial port. Other potential connecting destinations were the capital city of Riyadh and Damman on the east coast.

Mr Tam said direct flights would boost business trade as more Saudi businessmen looked for opportunities in Asia, including China. Many Saudi traders increasingly made Asia a sourcing hub for their businesses, raising demand for passenger flights, he said.

Businessmen wishing to enter the China market also chose to go through Hong Kong.

Mr Tam said direct flights could facilitate the growth of Hong Kong tourism to Saudi Arabia.

He said the Saudi Arabian government was studying the possibility of relaxing restrictions on overseas visitors, which in future could help fuel expanding growth in tourism.

Saudi Arabian Airlines started in 1945 with a single twin-engine DC-3 Dakota and has been a fast-growing carrier since then.

A few years ago, the airline completed a fleet upgraded acquiring 61 jets including the state-of-the-art Boeing 747-400s, 777-200s, MD-11s and MD-90s.

Today, it is one of the largest airlines in the world, with about 140 aircraft, including the latest and most advanced wide-bodied jets available.

In the first half of this year, the airline recorded a high of 92.31 per cent in on-time flight schedules, more than any other major airline.

Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the Second Deputy Premier, Defence Minister and Inspector General, praised the airline's achievement. Airline director-general Khaled bin Baker said the record was achieved despite an increase in internal and external operations which averaged 300 flights per day.

In Asia, the airline operates flights to and from Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. There are also frequent flights to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Intergulf Express was appointed as the airline's Hong Kong general sales agent in 1986 with indirect cargo flights connecting with Saudi Arabia via Bangkok or Manila.

Direct cargo flights were launched in October 2002 between Hong Kong and Riyadh. Early this year, the frequency of these flights was increased from two to three a week.

Mr Tam said Hong Kong would continue to serve as a regional hub and a gateway between the mainland and the world.

Saudi Arabian Airlines' existing cargo flights with Hong Kong recorded a high usage rate and in peak seasons, chartered flights were engaged to handle the extra cargo, he said. There was demand for more flights to keep up with growth in trade and flow of goods.

With growing business opportunities on the mainland, Saudi Arabian Airlines is also exploring possible cargo flights.

Mr Tam said his company was appointed the airline's general sales agent for China this year. Shanghai was the most probable destination, and the link would tap the tremendous potential of trade opportunities on the mainland.
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 10:21 PM   #343
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Old September 24th, 2004, 03:58 AM   #344
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Virgin Atlantic Announces Start Date for London - Hong Kong - Sydney
Virgin Atlantic - 21 Jun 2004

Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it is to launch daily scheduled services between London and Sydney via Hong Kong. The service will be operated by an Airbus A340-600 aircraft and will commence on 7 December this year. The A340-600 is the longest plane in the world and in future years this will be replaced on the route by the Airbus A380, the biggest plane in the world.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic said:

“I am delighted that Virgin Atlantic is now able to offer flights to Australia – everyone at Virgin has long wished for us to operate to Australia and today’s announcement really is a dream come true. Australians have also been waiting for many years for the BA-Qantas duopoly to be broken and for new competition to be introduced.

“Today’s announcement is another major landmark in Virgin Atlantic’s development. Sydney is a prestigious route and will become our 23rd destination. Tomorrow is also the 20th anniversary of our very first flight from Gatwick to Newark in 1984. Australia is a country that everyone at Virgin has been hoping to fly to from those early days and the news that our ambitions have become a reality will really add to our celebrations!

“I am grateful to the British and Hong Kong governments who have brokered this pro-competition deal that enables us to launch these new services. I’d also like to thank the Honourable Joe Hockey, Australia’s Minister for Tourism, for all his help and support.

“Virgin Atlantic’s new services on the kangaroo route will be good news for consumers in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, as it will mean that much needed competition and choice is brought to these markets. I am sure that Virgin’s award winning service and innovative products will be well received both in the UK-Australia and Hong Kong-Australia markets.”

Mackenzie Grant, Head of Asia Pacific for Virgin Atlantic Airways, said:

“I would like to thank all the government and airport agencies in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK who helped us fulfil our dream to operate to Australia and I am particularly pleased that we will be able to offer our award winning service on this route. We will offer Virgin’s new Upper Class suite which consists of a reclining leather seat for take off, a place to sit and eat a meal opposite your partner, the biggest fully flat bed in business class with a proper mattress for sleeping on, a private onboard bar to drink at with your friends and an inflight beauty treatment area. Also included in the price of a Virgin Upper Class ticket are four chauffeur driven journeys to and from the airport at both ends of the route.”

Tickets will go on sale for the new services later in the summer. Details of introductory promotional offers will also be announced at that time.

Sydney will bring the total number of destinations served by Virgin Atlantic to 23. In addition to this route, Virgin recently announced that it is due to launch a number of new routes including Cuba and The Bahamas and an increase in services to the US, Caribbean, Asia and the Far East.

Notes:

The service through to Sydney will operate via Hong Kong with a 90 minute stopover in Hong Kong in both directions. The route will be operated by an Airbus A340-600 aircraft with a configuration of 45 Upper Class Suites, 28 Premium Economy and 233 Economy seats.

Flight VS200 will depart London’s Heathrow daily at 2130 arriving in Hong Kong at 1750 the following day. This aircraft will then depart Hong Kong at 1920 arriving in Sydney at 0710 the following day.

Flight VS201 will depart Sydney at 1615 arriving at Hong Kong at 2205. The aircraft then departs Hong Kong at 2335 arriving at London Heathrow at 0450 the following day.
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Old September 24th, 2004, 06:31 AM   #345
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Copyright 2004 South China Morning Post Ltd.


September 24, 2004
SECTION: Business; Pg. 5

Barriers to airline start-ups leave reforms up in the air
Joseph Lo

Hang around enough aviation and logistics-themed luncheons, conferences and seminars and you get a sense very quickly of what's important, or not, to the industry.

The opening of the new Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou and its potential impact on Hong Kong is one issue that has dominated industry discussions in recent months, as has the Sino-US air services agreement struck this summer.

Funnily enough, the new Sino-Hong Kong air services arrangement has generated nowhere near the same level of industry interest, despite it being framed by the government as a major victory for the progressive liberalisation of our aviation industry.

It is, by some measures, the most liberal arrangement ever put in place to govern Hong Kong-mainland air links and it sets a timetable for Cathay Pacific Airways' return to the Shanghai passenger market. It also boosts cross-border air freight services, a critical element to the local economy.

Importantly, it champions the cause of newcomers to Hong Kong's air travel market, giving local start-up airlines - CR Airways and Hong Kong Express, a spin-off of Helicopters Hong Kong, are the first two aspirants, thus far - access to the smaller mainland cities that they crave.

For the pair, the critical part of the deal is this: it opens up 10 mainland cities (except Shanghai) for operations by more than one local airline immediately, with more cities to be granted dual-designation status over the next two years.

With some caveats, CR Airways and Hong Kong Express will now be able to launch regional jet services to the secondary cities that don't yet have the market to support services by larger Cathay and Dragonair jetliners.

This is potentially good news for Hong Kong's hub and mainland gateway status, as it helps enlarge the pool of mainland cities accessible from Chek Lap Kok. Air service links to the mainland are critical to our status as Asia's leading hub, and in turn feeds the growth of our finance, business services and tourism sectors.

But before CR Airways and Hong Kong Express break open the champagne, there is a hurdle that the new deal does not help them overcome. CR Airways has applied for a licence from the Air Transport Licensing Authority (Atla) to fly to Guilin, Haikou, Changsha, Tianjin, Sanya and Wuhan, for which it is facing opposition from Dragonair and Hong Kong Express.

Unfortunately for CR Airways, Dragonair already holds Atla licences and operates to those six cities, meaning that its application will be furiously contested. Atla is preparing to hear formal objections to the application.

Results aside, the process is time-consuming and costly, and adds to CR Airways' business uncertainty. A start-up can ill afford such costs.

So the formidable barriers to entry for start-up airlines at Chek Lap Kok remain. Despite the government's pledge to liberalise the industry, it is a shame that there seems to be little political will to truly implement change for the better.

Pushing the central government for open skies between Hong Kong and the mainland would be a huge step. Locally, a push to reform the industry's regulatory barriers - to provide more clarity in the way that licences and route rights are granted to airlines - might be no less important.

The Atla licensing process is deliberately separate from the requirements for obtaining the route rights to launch flights, a process that is controlled by the Economic Development and Labour Bureau (EDLB). An airline can hold an Atla licence for a destination, but never be allowed to operate the route because it lacks the requisite capacity allocations from the bureau.

Securing Atla approval adds to the burden for start-ups. So why not do away with it? In its place, a new authority could be carved out of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the EDLB, with statutory powers to make sure licences and route rights are used in a timely manner.

A company approved by the CAD to operate air services could then approach the new authority with meaningful route applications, shaped by whatever actual rights were available under the prevailing agreements.

Such a framework would make life easier for start-ups and encourage more entrepreneurs to enter the industry. When that happens, we can celebrate a victory for liberalisation.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 06:47 AM   #346
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Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
Copyright 2004 The Saigon Times Daily

September 24, 2004

UNITED AIRLINES PRESENTS FIRST VIETNAM-U.S. TICKET - LUCKY DRAW LAUNCHED FOR PASSENGERS
TUONG THUY


United Airlines yesterday presented the first HCMC-San Francisco ticket to one of its first customers, marking the start of a direct daily air service between Vietnam and the U.S. in almost 30 years.

United country director for Vietnam Richard Snyder handed a symbolic ticket to Ta Quoc Cuong, president of HCMC-based Thanh Thao Ltd., at its current HCMC ticketing office.

"Mr. Cuong is a valued, valued customer of United Airlines," Snyder said. "The issuing of the first ticket in Vietnam represents another milestone for our new direct service between the two sister cities, HCMC and San Francisco."

The U.S. second biggest airline is scheduled to launch the daily HCMC-San Francisco service via Hong Kong on December 11.

Cuong said, "This is a much-desired air service for Vietnamese businessmen like me. I regularly travel to America for business and I will not have to spend hours on connecting flights. I can fly with United direct to various cities in the U.S."

To mark the launch of the daily HCMC-San Francisco service, United has launched a promotion in which passengers buy a ticket for any international flight, they will automatically enroll in a lucky draw from now to October 31. Prizes include a round-trip economy class ticket to any of the 150 U.S. destinations served by the airline.

The airline says it is now the leading U.S. airline operating in Asia-Pacific. Asked by the Daily at the ticket presentation ceremony yesterday about special services for Vietnamese passengers on the upcoming HCMC-San Francisco flights, United marketing manager in Pacific South Krystal Ku said her airline was considering using Vietnamese-speaking flight attendants. "Our motto is to provide all what our customers need."

JOURNAL-CODE: FSGT
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Old September 25th, 2004, 07:10 AM   #347
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Old September 26th, 2004, 04:27 AM   #348
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LCC 'to link Hong Kong with China cities'
Sep 2004, Orient Aviation

A new low-cost carrier (LCC) will connect Hong Kong with up to 20 Mainland cities next year in a joint venture between Udom Tantiprasongchai, owner of Bangkok-based Orient Thai, and an unidentified property firm listed in Hong Kong, writes David Fullbrook in Bangkok.

Services will start with four Boeing 737s, gradually increasing to 10 as more routes open. The venture aims to exploit unutilised traffic rights between Hong Kong and Mainland destinations particularly those within a few hours flying time such as Changsha, Jinghong and Hainan. Northern cities such as Tianjin and Jinan are also prime targets.

“For me it doesn’t matter where we fly because there are so many cities in China that are home to millions,” said Udom.

Udom will model the new unnamed carrier on One Two Go, Orient Thai’s low-cost subsidiary, which operates domestic services between major Thai cities. “It will be a high-frequency, simple shuttle service,” says Udom. Unlike other low-cost carriers, such as AirAsia or Thailand’s Nok Air, which use differential pricing, One Two Go sells all seats on a route for the same price. Passengers are encouraged to turn up and go, rather than book in advance.

Udom declines to identify the property firm until it completes due diligence later this year prior to taking a minority stake in Orient Thai, either through cash or a share swap. He will be a minority shareholder in the new Hong Kong-based carrier.

Meanwhile, Orient Thai plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Proceeds raised from new investors will buy aircraft to replace leased aircraft and also refurbish interiors
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Old September 26th, 2004, 07:30 AM   #349
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Old September 26th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #350
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Old September 26th, 2004, 11:08 AM   #351
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Final Development of the airport. This photo belongs to Hkskyline.
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Old September 26th, 2004, 09:52 PM   #352
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Old September 27th, 2004, 04:07 AM   #353
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Old September 27th, 2004, 05:03 PM   #354
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Air Hong Kong gets 6 new planes
By Yap Lih Huey
Sept. 27, 2004



Air Hong Kong will significantly strengthen DHL’s US$100 million (RM380 million) central asia hub in Hong Kong and its dedicated regional air network with the recent delivery of six new Airbus A300-600F aircraft.

The cargo carrier, a joint venture between DHL and Cathay Paficic Airways, would be the first carrier in the world to operate this new freighter variant, which flies to Bangkok and Penang.

DHL holds a 40% stake in Air Hong Kong while Cathay Pacific holds the remaining 60%.

In a statement on Sept 27, DHL said the new aircraft was part of an order for six A300-600GF freighters placed by Air Hong Kong in January 2003 as part of its fleet expansion programme.

Deliveries of the remaining five wide-body aircraft would be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2005.

With progressive deliveries of the new aircraft, Air Hong Kong will significantly strengthen DHL’s dedicated regional air network, which currently comprises 25 destinations in 16 countries served by 40 dedicated cargo flights and over 800 commercial flights daily.

Air Hong Kong currently operates a fleet of leased freighters comprising one Boeing 747-200, one Airbus A300-600, two Airbus A300B4 and one Boeing B727. The route network includes Bangkok/Penang, Osaka, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul and Singapore.
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Old September 27th, 2004, 09:28 PM   #355
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Old September 28th, 2004, 01:47 AM   #356
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Copyright 2004 South China Morning Post Ltd.
September 27, 2004

Near miss south of HK denied; Aircraft were 304 metres apart, within safety limit
Cheung Chi-fai

Aviation officials yesterday denied a near miss between two airliners south of Hong Kong last week.

Responding to a press report on the incident, the Civil Aviation Department said there had been a safe distance between the two planes.

The report said the incident happened at 5.18pm on Thursday when a Boeing 747 was leaving Hong Kong for Kuala Lumpur and a Boeing 757 from Beijing was preparing to land in Hong Kong.

Both aircraft were flying about 55 nautical miles south of Chek Lap Kok when they reportedly came close to each other.

The department said the Boeing 757 was a Malaysia Airlines cargo flight and the Boeing 747 was a China Southern passenger flight.

It said the two planes were about 304 metres apart at their closest, which was acceptable according to international standards.

It said the Boeing 757 was flying at about 5,180 metres while the Boeing 747 was at 4,875 metres at the time.

The department stressed that flight safety had not been compromised and there was no risk of a collision.

"Flight safety is always the prime objective of the Civil Aviation Department. The department takes every step to ensure safe, orderly and efficient air traffic control," a spokesman said.

In June 2001 an Airbus 320 travelling to Shanghai and a Boeing 777 arriving from Seoul had a near miss 110 nautical miles east of Chek Lap Kok. The aircraft had been 210 metres apart.
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Old September 28th, 2004, 10:21 PM   #357
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Old September 28th, 2004, 10:39 PM   #358
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Copyright 2004 South China Morning Post Ltd.
September 28, 2004

Travel industry looks to polish city's image
Paggie Leung

The tourism industry will campaign to lure long-haul travellers to Hong Kong and the region when the world's biggest association of travel agents holds a six-day conference in the city this week.

Delegates to the annual conference of the American Society of Travel Agents will see a presentation promoting the Pearl River Delta region, comprising nine mainland provinces, Hong Kong and Macau.

The conference, which runs from today to Sunday, has been co-organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It will feature seminars, networking sessions, eight tours of different Hong Kong landmarks and a trade show featuring travel -related products from more than 380 exhibitors.

More than 1,000 members of the 20,000-strong association are expected to attend.

The tourism board says on its website that it hopes to convince delegates to recommend Hong Kong to their clients and include the city in their tour itineraries.

While tourism figures indicate long-haul tourism has rebounded to levels seen before last year's Sars outbreak, Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said travel from the United States and Europe had not fully recovered. He said the conference would help promote and rebuild Hong Kong's image.

"It will help the delegates know more about Hong Kong and that there are no problems with visiting this city now," he said.

Mr Tung welcomed the idea of promoting Hong Kong with mainland provinces, as itineraries would be enriched if tourists visited different cities during one trip.

A highlight of the programme will be the Pearl River Delta pavilion, a joint promotional booth organised by Hong Kong, Macau and the delta's nine provinces.

Hong Kong last hosted the conference in 1965.
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Old September 29th, 2004, 01:55 AM   #359
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By Orient Thai from HKADB :







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Old September 30th, 2004, 04:37 AM   #360
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