Aviation history of Hong Kong
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The first privately owned airport in Hong Kong was located in Sha Tin. On 18 March 1911, the aeroplane of the Belgian pilot, Charles den Bron, successfully took off at the airport in Sha Tin on an aeroplane named Spirit of Sha Tin (Chinese: 沙田精神號). It was the first aeroplane that took off in Hong Kong. A replica of the aircraft is hung at Chep Lap Kok airport above the arrivals hall.
The year 1924 was a critical point of aviation history of Hong Kong, when the story of Kai Tak began. The location of Kai Tak belonged to two billionaires Ho Kai and Au Tak, who owned the land before the government acquired the land (the land originally did not have a name), which explains the name of the airport. First planned as an estate site, the land was given to the government after the plan failed. It soon became a small airport for the Royal Air Force, flying clubs and pilot training centre.
The first domestic airline company was set up in 1936.
In 1962 the passenger terminal was completed, and Kai Tak became an international airport, renamed Hong Kong International Airport. But it remains popularly known as Kai Tak Airport.
The old airport at Kai Tak finally retired at midnight 5 July 1998, and the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west of Kai Tak, began in service in the morning of the following day.
Many aviation enthusiasts were upset with the demise of Kai Tak because of the unique approach. As private aviation is not allowed at Chek Lap Kok, some enthusiasts had lobbied to keep around 1 km of the Kai Tak runway for private aviation, but the suggestion was rejected as the Government had planned to build a new cruise terminal at Kai Tak.
- Wen Wei Po (in Chinese). 31 January 2010 http://paper.wenweipo.com/2010/01/31/741001310003.htm
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 7 August 2010.