For discussion
on 4 February 1998


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary post in the Economic Services Bureau for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 1998 -

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C

(D2) ($110,000 - $116,800)


The supernumerary Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC)(D2) post in the Economic Services Bureau (ESB) for duties related to the new airport project will lapse on 31 March 1998. We need to retain this post to cope with the work associated with the new airport in the initial year of its operation.


2. The Secretary for Economic Services (SES) proposes to retain the supernumerary AOSGC post for another year from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999.


3. ESB is the policy bureau responsible for civil aviation matters and for overseeing the activities of the Airport Authority (AA). Since 1990, we have created a supernumerary AOSGC post designated as Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services (New Airport) (PAS(ES)NA). The post currently has the following duties and responsibilities -

  1. monitoring the work of AA to ensure that its practices and procedures are consistent with Government policies and Hong Kong's international obligations relating to civil aviation;

  2. liaising with bureaux and departments to ensure that Government concerns are fully taken into account when AA formulates and implements its policies and operational plans;

  3. co-ordinating Government positions and resolving conflicts between AA and Government on airport related matters;

  4. monitoring plans on Airport Operational Readiness (AOR) programmes;

  5. providing input to matters relating to airport charges;

  6. dealing with matters relating to the provision of airport support services;

  7. ensuring timely provision of facilities to meet air traffic demand;

  8. preparing subsidiary legislation under the AA Ordinance and contributing to other legislation related to the new airport operation; and

  9. providing administrative support to Services (SES on proposals put before the AA Board and its committees.

4. In the past year, the officer spent a substantial amount of time on co-ordinating Government input to the drafting of the Airport Authority Bylaw, contributing to other legislation relating to the operation of the new airportoperation, dealing with AOR programmes related issues and providing input to the development of a number of commercial and operational policies and strategies, e.g. airport charges, arrangements relating to airlines and passengers. He continued to monitor closely the development of a Government position on such legislation as well as on matters relating to commercial and operational policies and strategies for the new airport. He also provided input to the AA to ensure that Hong Kong's international obligations and Government's policies and objectives are met.

Continued need for a dedicated officer to deal with new airport project

5. In the coming year, we expect that many issues relating to the new airport will continue to develop. This is an evolving process and PAS(ES)NA will need to monitor developments until Government departments, tenants, airlines and other operators adapt to the new environment and arrangements at the new airport and airport operations settle down. He will have to provide and co-ordinate Government input to the following areas of work -

  1. the fine-tuning of AA's policies, including those on airport charges and commercial and operational arrangements relating to airlines, passengers and airport support services, based on actual working experience during the first year of operation of the new airport;

  2. the review of AA's organisation structure and the condition of service of its staff following its transition from construction to operation mode;

  3. the AA's review on air traffic forecast with a view to developing additional facilities in time to meet users' demand; and

  4. other proposals put to the AA Board and its committees.

6. The officer will also provide administrative support to SES in relation to his duties as a member of the AA Board. We expect the workload for the PAS(ES)NA post to continue to be heavy for at least a year after the airport opens. We therefore propose to retain the post for another year up to 31 March 1999.

Alternative arrangement considered

7. SES has examined the possibility of assigning another Principal Assistant Secretary (PAS(ES)A) in the bureau to take up work associated with the new airport. Apart from overseeing civil aviation policy and legislation and housekeeping matters for the Civil Aviation Department, PAS(ES)A is also responsible for policy on inbound tourism and bureau administration and co-ordination. In the year ahead, he will need to process proposals to up-date civil aviation legislation in the light of technological and other developments. In addition, the Government, the Hong Kong Tourist Association and the tourist industry are also considering short and long term measures to help boost tourism. A special task force on tourism has been established and workload will thus continue to grow in the coming year. At the same time, there has been substantial increase in workload arising from bureau administration and co-ordination. This frequently involves detailed discussions within the bureau with a view to formulating a bureau position. The heavy schedule of PAS(ES)A has made it impossible for him to absorb any additional responsibility.

8. The organisation chart of the ESB and the job description of the PAS(ES)NA post are at Enclosures 1 and 2 respectively.


9. The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposal at mid-point is $1,360,800. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost is $2,438,640. We have included sufficient provision in the 1998-99 draft Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


10. The AA is a statutory body set up under the Airport Authority Ordinance in 1995 to provide, operate, develop and maintain the new airport at Chek Lap Kok with the objective of maintaining Hong Kong's status as a centre of international and regional aviation.

11. Initially, the new airport will have the capacity to handle 35 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of cargo per annum. With the second runway scheduled for completion around the end of 1998, the capacity of the new airport will further increase. In the longer term, with additional terminal, apron and other facilities, the New Airport Master Plan forecasts that the new airport will be able to handle up to 87 million passengers and 9 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

12. The Finance Committee approved the creation of the supernumerary post of PAS(ES)NA with effect from 1 February 1990 for a period of two years. The post was subsequently extended on several occasions up to 31 March 1998.


13. Civil Service Bureau accepts that there is a need for the extension of the supernumerary PAS(ES)NA post for at least one year in order to cope with the work associated with the new airport project. The grading and ranking of the post are appropriate.


14. We shall report the creation of this supernumerary post, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Economic Services Bureau
January 1998

Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)52

Job Description for Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services (New Airport) Economic Services Bureau, Government Secretariat

Rank : Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2)
Responsible to : Deputy Secretary (Economic Services)2

Main Duties and Responsibilities :

  1. Co-ordinating input and resolving problems related to interface issues between Government and the Airport Authority;

  2. formulating the Bureau's position on matters related to the commercial and operational planning of the new airport;

  3. overseeing the implementation of AA policies to ensure consistency with Hong Kong's international obligations and government's policies;

  4. providing support to the Secretary for Economic Services on proposals put to the AA Board and its committees;

  5. attending meetings of the International Airlines Transport Association on airport charges and working together with AA on the development of schemes of charges for the new airport;

  6. monitoring the review of air traffic forecast undertaken by the AA to ensure the timely provision of facilities to meet user demands; and

  7. preparing briefs and briefing visitors on the new airport.

Checklist for Issue of ESC Items

Retention of the Principal Assistant Secretary (Economic Services) New Airport post for one year

  1. Necessity to go to the ESC

    ESC approval is required for the retention of supernumerary directorate posts.

  2. Authority

    SES supported the retention of this post.

  3. Funding

    The proposal was funded in the 1997 RAE and sufficient provision has been included in the 1998-99 Estimates.

  4. Political Assessment

    PLC may query the continued need for the post after opening of the new airport, but we believe Members will accept the arguments that there would be work related to the new airport particularly during the initial period of operation and before it settles into daily routines.

  5. Consultation with PLC Panel

    An information paper will be circulated to the Economic Services Panel before the ESC meeting.

  6. Lobbying requirement

    Depending on assessment nearer the time of the meeting, ESB will lobby PLC members for their support of the proposal if necessary.

  7. Fallback Option

    This could only be assessed nearer the time. (ESB to advise FB later.)

  8. Attendance at the ESC Meeting

    Ms Linda Lai, Principal Assistant Secretary (Economic Services) New Airport.

    Mr Joe Wong, Principal Assistant Secretary (Economic Services)A

  9. Special Consideration

    There is an urgency to go to ESC in February as the supernumerary post in question will lapse on 31 March 1998.

Economic Services Bureau
January 1998