on 11 February 1999
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEEHEAD 168 - HONG KONG OBSERVATORY
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to the Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary post in the Hong Kong Observatory for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 1999 -
1 Assistant Director of the Hong Kong ObservatoryPROBLEM
(D2) ($116,650 - $123,850)
The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) needs to retain the supernumerary post of Assistant Director (AD) to ensure the smooth operation of meteorological facilities and provision of efficient meteorological services for the airport upon the opening of the second runway, to continue with the smooth planning and installation of meteorological systems for the Backup Air Traffic Control Complex, and to undertake further development of the existing meteorological systems at the airport. The post is due to lapse on 1 April 1999.
2. The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (the Director) proposes to retain the supernumerary AD post for another year up to 31 March 2000.
Smooth operation of additional airport meteorological systems
3. The transition of the airport meteorological service from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok went smoothly and all meteorological facilities at the new airport have been operating well since its opening on 6 July 1998. The airport's second runway, originally scheduled to open towards the end of 1998, is now scheduled to come into full operation in the second half of 1999. The Backup Air Traffic Control Complex will be commissioned in early 2000.
4. The meteorological work associated with the second runway includes the installation of additional instruments to measure wind speed and direction and visibility along the runway, the setting up of additional data processing workstations to process data from these instruments and development of additional windshear detection algorithms to enhance the detection capability of the windshear and turbulence warning system. We need to test and integrate these additional systems with other systems of the HKO, Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the Airport Authority (AA) to ensure that they operate properly upon the opening of the second runway. We also have to devise operational procedures to ensure that staff in the Airport Meteorological Office (AMO) can cope with the operation of an additional runway.
5. The HKO is also putting in place additional meteorological facilities for the Backup Air Traffic Control Complex. The additional facilities, which include workstations and accessories for the Aerodrome Meteorological Observing System and the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, as well as a scaled down Meteorological Data Processing System and associated communications facilities, will be commissioned in phases between the middle of 1999 and early 2000. Professional and technical staff have been provided, on a supernumerary basis, for setting up these facilities. However, the Director also requires policy input and operational control at the AD level, to co-ordinate with the AA and bureaux and departments concerned the timely provision of the additional meteorological facilities and services, and to manage and synchronise professional work both within HKO and between HKO and CAD in the testing of the additional facilities, including the switching of operation between the existing Air Traffic Control Complex and the Backup Air Traffic Control Complex.
6. The Director envisages that the smooth functioning of the additional meteorological systems for the second runway and the Backup Air Traffic Control Complex and proper execution of related operational procedures in the initial
years of their operation will be particularly important as unforeseen technical problems could well arise. He needs the continued support of an AD to identify and iron out any problems with the additional hardware, software and procedures and ensure the smooth operation of the whole system.
Further development of existing aviation meteorological systems
7. The AMO operates a range of highly specialised meteorological facilities costing some $380 million, including four major systems - a Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, a Windshear and Turbulence Warning System, an Aviation Meteorological Data Processing System and an Aerodrome Meteorological Observing System - and various data processing and telecommunications equipment. These systems are highly integrated among themselves and with other airport systems. A large variety and volume of data are exchanged in real-time among them. Any problems or changes in one system or one set of procedures can affect other systems and procedures, and may eventually affect flight safety and efficiency.
8. There is an on-going need to evaluate and optimise the performance of these systems in the Chek Lap Kok environment and to modify associated procedures in response to the changing needs of users (air traffic services units and airlines) and changes in international standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Meteorological Organisation from time to time. The Windshear and Turbulence Warning System in particular requires continuous long-term effort to evaluate and improve its performance in the Chek Lap Kok environment, so as to meet exacting demands from pilots and air traffic control personnel. The management, operation, performance evaluation and modification of the systems in the AMO is highly specialised work. The Director considers that it is essential for such work to be undertaken under the direction and oversight of an AD.
Management of the Airport Meteorological Office
9. Before creation of the AD post in 1992, there were 27 officers in the AMO. The facilities and services under the AMO have since increased greatly in scale and complexity, requiring substantial effort by the AD in policy formulation, strategic planning and high level co-ordination. He is currently assisted by five senior professionals, four of whom are each responsible for the maintenance and on-going development of one of the four major systems (paragraph 7 above), and one of whom is responsible for the day to day operation of the AMO. The AD has to direct, co-ordinate and monitor the work of these senior professionals. His job requires full knowledge of the different technological areas concerned and the ability to formulate policy, map out strategy for further development of the facilities and services and implement changes effectively.
10. Altogether, there are now 60 professional and technical officers in the AMO under the AD. This amounts to about 18% of the department's staff (60 out of a total of 333 non-directorate staff), and about 40% of departmental expenses ($30 million out of a total of $74 million per annum). In addition, the work of the AMO needs to have regard to the number of international airports around the Pearl River estuary and the need for co-ordination, at a high level, of aviation meteorological services provided at these airports. Liaison with senior officers of the relevant meteorological offices and the meteorological division of the Civil Aviation Administration of China is becoming more and more frequent. The Director considers that the size and operational responsibilities of the AMO and the importance of close co-ordination of aviation meteorological services provided by all airports in the vicinity of Hong Kong make it essential that the AMO should continue to be under the overall management of an AD.
11. We have examined the option of not retaining the AD (Aviation Meteorological Services) post, but found it impossible to re-distribute his work to the other three ADs of the department without running down the services we currently provide and having a detrimental effect on aviation safety. The other three ADs are fully occupied with the workload under their respective schedules and are unable to absorb the heavy and important duties associated with aviation meteorological services. We set out the explanation at Enclosure 1
12. The organisation chart of the HKO and the job description of the supernumerary AD post are at Enclosures 2
13. We see a possible long term need for an AD to maintain a world class aviation meteorological service in line with evolving international standards and user requirements. In particular, a senior officer is required to steer the on-going development of complex meteorological systems and to take charge of high level liaison with other aviation meteorological authorities. To meet such needs, as well as new demands of services from the public and the aviation community, we are considering the case for a permanent AD post. We will approach Members again in due course should we wish to proceed in this way.
14. The additional notional annual salary cost at MID-POINT of the proposal is $1,443,000. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $2,591,688. We have included sufficient provision in the 1999-2000 draft Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.
15. We will continue to charge the AA for the provision of aviation meteorological service for the new airport on a full cost recovery basis as agreed before.
16. We obtained approval of the Finance Committee in 1992 to create a supernumerary AD post in the Observatory to formulate policies and strategies regarding aviation meteorological services and to oversee the development of meteorological facilities and services for the new airport. The post was extended on three occasions in 1994, 1996 and 1998 to meet operational requirements, the last time up to 31 March 1999. Between 1992 and mid 1997, the AD was engaged in formulating policies and overseeing the development of the meteorological services and facilities for the first runway of the new airport. Between mid 1997 and mid 1998, he was responsible for ensuring that all meteorological facilities for the first runway were ready and all operational staff properly trained before opening of the new airport. He also began to plan and oversee the establishment of additional meteorological facilities for the second runway and Backup Air Traffic Control Complex. This new work will continue up to and beyond the end of the current extension of the AD post. The present proposal will enable him to carry on with the work associated with the second runway and Backup Air Traffic Control Complex, and improvements to the windshear and turbulence warning system.
17. In June 1996, the Finance Committee approved funding of some
$43 million for additional meteorological facilities for the second runway and the Backup Air Traffic Control Complex scheduled for commissioning in phases between mid 1999 and early 2000.
CIVIL SERVICE BUREAU COMMENTS
18. Civil Service Bureau agrees that further retention of the supernumerary post of Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory for
one year is appropriate having regard to the nature of work and the level of responsibilities.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
19. As we propose to retain the AD post on a supernumerary basis, we will report the retention of it, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.
Economic Services Bureau
Enclosure 1 to EC(98-99)30
Workload of other Assistant Directors in
the Hong Kong Observatory
In addition to the AD (Aviation Meteorological Services), there are three ADs in the Hong Kong Observatory, namely the AD (Development, Research and Administration), the AD (Forecasting and Warning Services) and the AD (Radiation Monitoring and Assessment).
2. The AD (Development, Research and Administration) (AD(D)) is responsible for the development and use of information technology and telecommunications for the public and marine weather services, for networking and exchange of meteorological data internationally, for earthquake monitoring and assessment, for the provision of port meteorological services, for relations with international organisations and mainland authorities in respect of climatology, tropical cyclones, marine meteorology, oceanography, time service and earthquakes, and for the administration of departmental resources.
3. The provision of public and marine weather services has to be backed up by the timely exchange and processing of a large variety and quantity of atmospheric and oceanographic data. AD(D) has to keep track of the numerous advances in telecommunications, internet and information technology to meet increasing demands in these areas. He has to keep under constant review and implement strategic plans in developing the departmental telecommunication network, supercomputers and other computing facilities. He is researching into technology for earthquake monitoring and risk assessment. The implications for the local environment of global issues like climate change, El Nino, La Nina, ozone depletion and greenhouse gases are attracting considerable public attention. AD(D) is designing and directing study programmes to meet demands for information on these issues. He will continue to co-ordinate the work of many of the numerous professional disciplines represented in the department, as well as the overall administration of departmental resources. AD(D) is fully occupied with the workload under his schedule.
4. The AD (Forecasting and Warning Services) (AD(F)) is responsible for management and direction of the Central Forecasting Office, for weather forecasting and warning services to the public, for operation of meteorological radars and satellite data reception systems, for the continuing development of weather forecasting techniques and for devising and promoting new weather information services.
5. The public has high expectations of the HKO as regards warnings of severe weather. AD(F)'s workload has increased significantly in this field. The rapid advance of technology in such areas as numerical modelling, radar and satellites offers opportunities for the improvement of the public weather service and increase in productivity. AD(F) has to keep pace with and take advantage of such technological developments and meet the rising expectations of the public. He is overseeing the development of a strategy employing the latest technology to improve forecast accuracy and to deliver a greater variety of forecast products to meet the diverse requirements of the public. He must also keep a close watch on the day-to-day operation of the various severe weather warning systems. AD(F) is fully occupied with the workload under his schedule.
6. The AD (Radiation Monitoring and Assessment) (AD(R)) is responsible for formulating policies in radiation monitoring and radiological protection having regard to local conditions and international standards, for representing the department in negotiations with the Guangdong authorities over nuclear contingency planning, for implementing agreed contingency arrangements, for developing and maintaining radiological observation facilities and automatic observing networks for weather and tides and for planning the training and development of all departmental staff.
7. The HKO is committed to maintaining constant readiness in responding to any accident occurring at the Guangdong Nuclear Power Station at Daya Bay. To this end, AD(R) has to keep the departmental contingency plan updated in the light of advances in technology, new international requirements, changes in radiological protection standards and establishment of new nuclear power stations in the region. AD(R) will continue to participate in high-level liaison with his Guangdong counterparts in relation to cross-boundary co-operation over emergency response. He will continue to keep a close watch on observational networks which include some 90 field stations measuring various meteorological, radiological, hydrological and oceanographic parameters. He will also continue to develop staff training and development programmes for professional and technical staff of many specialisations, in response to changes in demand for departmental services and advances in technologies. AD(R) is fully occupied with the workload under his schedule.
Enclosure 3 to EC(98-99)30
|Rank|| :||Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (Aviation Meteorological Services)|
|Responsible to|| :||Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
- Overall control and management of the Aviation Meteorological Services Branch.
- To formulate policies in the operation, maintenance and development of meteorological facilities and services for the new Hong Kong International Airport.
- To co-ordinate Hong Kong Observatory programmes for Chek Lap Kok with those of the Airport Authority and other government departments.
- To co-ordinate with Civil Aviation Administration of China and other authorities in the Mainland, to interact with International Civil Aviation Organization and overseas aviation meteorological authorities, and to liaise with counterparts.
- To oversee meteorological services delivered to Civil Aviation Department and the aviation community at the new Hong Kong International Airport, and to liaise with counterparts.
- To steer and oversee the on-going development of methodology in windshear and turbulence detection, verification of the performance of the windshear and turbulence warning systems, modification of the systems to meet new requirements of air traffic controllers and to take advantage of emerging technology.
- To supervise and steer senior professional officers in the maintenance and on-going development of aviation meteorological facilities and provision of observing and forecasting services.
- Strategic planning and integration of technical programmes for the implementation of meteorological facilities of second runway and Backup Air Traffic Control Complex, and continued improvement of meteorological systems at the new airport.
- To oversee the implementation of meteorological facilities and services for the second runway and Backup Air Traffic Control Complex.
- To keep abreast of latest developments in aeronautical meteorology and implement the standards and recommendations of World Meteorological Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization.
- To liaise with equipment suppliers engaged in the Hong Kong Observatory programmes for Chek Lap Kok.