LegCo Panel on Economic Services
Aircraft Accident at Hong Kong International Airport
on 22 August 1999


This paper informs members of the aircraft accident at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on 22 August 1999 and addresses a number of issues of wide public interest.


2. At around 18:45 on 22 August 1999, an MD11 aircraft of China Airlines with flight number CI642 from Bangkok, crashed on HKIA Runway 25L (i.e. landing in a south-westerly direction on the South Runway). According to information collected by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) so far, the right wing and engine of the aircraft made contact with the runway surface on landing and flames were observed. The aircraft then flipped over to the right before coming to rest in a fully overturned position on a grass area. Its fuselage was on fire. The duty Air Traffic Control Tower controller activated the crash alarm immediately to call out the Airport Fire Contingent.


3. The firefighting and rescue operations were carried out in accordance with the Contingency Plan for Dealing with an Aircraft Crash in Hong Kong, Airport Emergency Procedures Manual and various departmental operational plans on aircraft crash. Other emergency and supporting services were also informed immediately. Key Departments and agencies involved in the operation were as follows -

  1. Fire Services turned out reinforcement of fire appliances and ambulances for the fire fighting, rescue on site and conveyance of casualties to the hospitals. Copy of a detailed report prepared by the Fire Services Department (FSD) on the fire fighting and rescue operations is at Annex A;

  2. Police cordoned off the site to control entry and exit, arranged extra road traffic duties to ensure clear and quick passage for ambulances to and from hospitals, manned posts at the hospitals to register admission of casualties, activated the Casualty Enquiry Unit at Police Headquarters shortly after the accident, and provided additional duties at various locations to maintain law and order;

  3. Port Health Medical Officer with his staff as well as doctor and nurses from the airport private clinic were dispatched to the scene as the first medical team;

  4. Hospital Authority dispatched additional medical teams to the scene to carry out on-site emergency medical services and triage, and at the same time activated disaster plans at various hospitals in preparation for the reception of a large number of casualties. A report provided by the Health and Welfare Bureau is at Annex B.

  5. Auxiliary Medical Services provided additional ambulances and turned out additional personnel to assist emergency services at the scene and hospitals. St. John Ambulance Brigade was also alerted by FSD to provide additional ambulances;

  6. Civil Aid Services turned out additional personnel to assist Fire Services in the search of passengers and to provide assistance to other agencies for the reception of uninjured passengers;

  7. Home Affairs Department set up Help Desks with other Departments such as Social Welfare Department and Police at various hospitals to offer assistance to passengers injured and their families as required;

  8. Immigration Department arranged immigration clearance for injured passengers at the hospitals;

  9. Airport Authority (AA) provided co-ordination, facilitation and supporting services for the rescue operation such as making public announcements, escorting rescue teams to the scene of the accident and so on. Copy of a report provided by the AA is at Annex C; and

  10. Emergency Monitoring and Support Centre of Security Bureau was activated. It monitored and provided support to all parties throughout the operation.

4. Of the 315 persons on board, two died before arriving hospital, 210 were injured and registered by the Hospital Authority (HA) on 22 August (including one subsequently died in hospital), six attended HA's Ambulance & Emergency Department on 23/24 August and 97 were uninjured. As at 09:45 on 30 August 1999, 23 passengers remained hospitalised, including seven in satisfactory condition, 15 in stable condition and one in critical condition.

5. The Security Bureau's assessment is that, on the whole, the fire fighting and rescue operations as well as the provision of emergency medical services were carried out efficiently and effectively in accordance with the contingency plans. The results were considered satisfactory.

6. All Departments and agencies involved will shortly conduct reviews individually and collectively so that the experience can be incorporated into the relevant contingency plans to further improve their efficiency and effectiveness.


Opening and Operation of the Airport on the Day of the Accident

7. After the accident, questions were raised as to whether the airport should be kept open during typhoons. Annex 6 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation provides that, "Subject to their published conditions of use, aerodromes and their facilities shall be kept continuously available for flight operations during their published hours of operations, irrespective of weather conditions". In accordance with this recommendation and in line with international practice (as in the case of Tokyo in Japan, Miami and Denver in the United States and other major international airports), it has not been the practice to close the airport because of typhoon or strong wind condition. CAD would however provide all the relevant weather information including wind, turbulence, visibility, cloud condition, runway conditions, etc. to pilots who should determine if the prevailing conditions are suitable for safe landings or take-off. For example, if a steady wind is blowing down the runway, it would normally be quite safe even if the wind is very strong. However, if strong wind is blowing across the runway, whether or not it would be regarded by pilots as safe to continue the approach to land would depend on various factors such as the aircraft type, the runway conditions (including its physical characteristics and whether it is wet or dry), and the experience of the pilots concerned.

8. In the two hours before the accident, there were 11 landings at the airport, the last one being just six minutes beforehand. There were six missed approaches and two diversions during the same period.

Time Taken to Re-open the Airport after the Accident

9. In view of the seriousness of the accident, all available resources of the two airport fire stations were deployed for fire fighting and rescue operations. This affected the fire and rescue cover for the North Runway. In accordance with the requirement laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), runway operation shall not be permitted unless adequate fire and rescue cover is provided. Furthermore, with the large number of rescue and support personnel and vehicles (including off-airport units) being deployed in the vicinity of the crash site, there would be safety concerns if aircraft movements were to take place. The North Runway had to be closed until the completion of the rescue operation and the reinstatement of adequate fire and rescue cover. The airport was therefore only re-opened at 01:00 on 23 August 1999 (i.e. some six hours after the closure).

Wind Conditions at the Airport

Wind conditions around the time of the accident

10. Questions were raised as to whether the accident was related to the prevailing wind conditions. Investigation of the cause(s) and circumstances of the accident by a special investigation team appointed by DCA is currently in train. It would be inappropriate to speculate on these issues at this stage. Nevertheless, in view of the public interest, some facts are set out below -

  1. around the time of the accident, the airport was under the influence of Severe Tropical Storm Sam with Signal No.8 hoisted. Northwesterly wind prevailed over Chek Lap Kok (CLK). Since the runway is oriented from west-southwest to east-northeast, the prevailing wind was blowing across the runway generally (please see attached map at Annex D);

  2. the wind came in from Zhujiang (Pearl River) and crossed the airport before reaching Lantau Island. It was not from the south whereby air would only reach the airport after climbing over the hills of Lantau as referred to in various press reports;

  3. a turbulence warning was given by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO)'s Windshear and Turbulence Warning System at the time of the accident. However, the system gave no warning of windshear at that time, nor did HKO staff who were specifically monitoring for that purpose. Furthermore, the HKO did not receive any report of windshear from pilots flying into and out of HKIA on 22 August 1999.

Wind conditions at Chek Lap Kok (CLK)

11. Questions were raised as to whether the wind conditions at CLK would affect its suitability as the site of an international airport. In fact, the phenomena of cross-wind 1, windshear 2 and turbulence 3 at CLK had been thoroughly studied by experts as early as 1979, i.e. well before the commencement of detailed design of the airport. The study programmes included manual observations, instrument observations, physical modelling using wind tunnel and water tanks, remote sensing using Doppler acoustic radar and investigation flights by the then Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force between 1979 and 1981. A report on wndshear study completed in 1989 found that there would be the existence of windshear and turbulence induced by mountains and strong winds at CLK but concluded that these phenomena should not be considered a determining factor against the selection of the CLK site. It recommended that a sophisticated windshear detection system should be installed. The report was presented to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Coordinating Group which concurred with the conclusions and recommendations contained therein. In addition, a comprehensive Airborne Meteorological Measurement Programme was conducted in 1994, under which 221 hours of instrumented investigation flights were carried out. A light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system, a wind profiler, an integrated sounding system and seven automatic weather stations were deployed at the same time to collect information on the actual wind conditions. The programme was further supplemented by numerical modelling studies.

12. These studies concluded that CLK was operationally viable as a major international airport. The frequency of cross-wind occurrence, i.e. the percentage of time during which the runway is affected by the respective cross-wind value, for CLK is well within ICAO recommendation, as illustrated below:-

Cross-windChek Lap KokICAO recommendations
>20 kt 40.7%less than 5%

13. The claim in some press reports that the frequency of cross-wind occurrence at CLK is over 5% is not supported by these studies. In the two years between April 1997 and March 1999, the frequency of occurrence of cross-wind exceeding 20 kt was only 0.01%.

14. ICAO does not have specific recommendation or standard for windshear. The studies by experts nevertheless indicated that the occurrence of windshear at CLK and that at Kai Tak was comparable and of the order of around 0.5%. In the first year of operation of the airport at CLK, the HKO warning system (see paragraphs 16 to 19 below) issued warnings of windshear for 0.32% of the time. In the same period, 162 aircraft pilot reports of windshear were received by the HKO whereas the total number of flights into and out of the HKIA was about 166,000. On this basis, the frequency of occurrence of windshear in terms of flights comes to about 0.1%.

15. ICAO also does not have specific recommendation or standard for turbulence. The studies by experts indicated that the occurrence of severe turbulence at CLK was in the order of around 0.23%. In the first year of operation of the airport at CLK, the HKO warning system issued warnings of severe turbulence for 0.16% of the time. In the same period, nine aircraft pilot reports of severe turbulence were received by the HKO. On this basis, the corresponding frequency of occurrence, in terms of flights, works out to be about 0.005%.

Additional Safeguard against Windshear and Turbulence

16. As seen from the above, the airport at CLK is safe and meets all the relevant ICAO standards. Notwithstanding that, the Government has introduced the latest available technologies and put in place a sophisticated Windshear and Turbulence Warning System (WTWS) since airport opening as an additional safeguard. This system helps to detect low level windshear and turbulence around the airport. It comprises a Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) at Tai Lam Chung, 14 anemometers on and around the airport, and a wind profiler at Sha Lo Wan. The TDWR is a high-sensitivity radar specifically designed to detect windshear associated with thunderstorms. It is a proven system and has been installed at over 40 major airports in the United States. The one at Tai Lam Chung is the first of such system outside the United States.

17. Making use of the data from the TDWR as well as those from the anemometers, the WTWS computes and warns of windshear and turbulence around the airport. The warnings, together with those produced by the TDWR, are sent to air traffic controllers for onward transmission to pilots.

18. The duty weather forecasters at the airport also maintain continuous meteorological watch and supplements the automated system by issuing additional warnings of windshear and turbulence based on synoptic experience and empirical rules.

19. On an on-going basis, the HKO will continue to work closely with CAD and airlines to enhance the warning system as appropriate.


20. An Inspector's Investigation into the accident is being carried out under Regulation 10 of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations. It is following the requirements as published in Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which sets out the procedures adopted internationally for aircraft accident investigations. The aim of the investigation is to find out the cause(s) of the accident with recommendations to prevent future recurrence.

21. The investigation team comprises of nine core members who are trained aircraft accident investigators of CAD. It is assisted by nine aviation experts from the United States (including three from Boeing Commercial Airplane Group which is the manufacturer of MD11) and 15 experts from Taiwan.

22. Owing to the complexity of the investigation work, it will take considerable time to collect evidence and to interview crews, passengers and other witnesses. The analysis of evidence collected will take much longer time. Aircraft parts and components will need to be sent to investigation laboratories for detailed examination and testing. The results of the analysis will then be documented for the compilation of the report. At this stage, it is estimated that the final report would be completed in around two years but CAD advised that it should be able to publish a preliminary report by the end of September 1999. This preliminary report will mainly cover factual information of the accident. However, if there is any significant finding during the investigation which requires urgent attention, e.g. if it involves issues of public safety, it will be communicated to parties concerned.


23. The South Runway can only be re-opened after the removal of the aircraft wreckage and repair of the damaged runway surface and runway lights. The Instrument Landing System (ILS) necessary for its operation would also need to be re-checked to confirm proper system functioning.

24. The AA advised that repair of the runway surface and runway lights was completed on 28 August 1999. The CAD also advised that the ILS had been checked and confirmed to be working properly on 26 August 1999. The only work that needed to be done before re-opening of the South Runway was the removal of the wreckage.

25. After completing preliminary on-site investigation, CAD handed over the wreckage to the AA at 12:00 on Wednesday 25 August. However, the removal of the wreckage had been hampered by adverse weather. The Authority had earlier hoped that the aircraft fuselage could be removed in one piece. Late on Thursday 26 August, the whole fuselage was lifted and recovery trailers were put in position to remove it. However, as the fuselage was lowered onto the trailers, it became evident that it had suffered serious internal structural damage. At 03:20 on Friday morning, an assessment by technical experts on site agreed that the fuselage would possibly break up if an attempt was made to remove it. The attempt to remove the fuselage in one piece was therefore aborted to avoid the risk of :-

  1. injury to personnel involved in the removal operation;

  2. further damage to the wreckage, which might result in loss of evidence important to the investigation;

  3. blockage of aircraft movement areas or taxiways; and

  4. damage to valuable recovery equipment which could have further delayed the removal of the wreckage.

26. Technical experts subsequently agreed to cut the fuselage into three sections before removing them by trailers. The work started in the morning of Friday 27 August to remove cargo and baggage prior to cutting the fuselage. The removal of the wreckage was successfully completed at mid-night on Sunday 29 August and the runway was handed over to CAD shortly before 06:00 Monday 30 August. After a final round of checking of the South Runway and its associated facilities by CAD staff, the runway was re-opened in the same morning.

27. Questions were raised as to whether the South Runway could have been re-opened earlier and whether an earlier re-opening of the runway could have reduced the flight disruption between 23 and 25 August 1999.

28. Since the airport was re-opened at 01:00 23 August 1999, the North Runway has been able to cope with 37 aircraft movements per hour (i.e. the declared runway capacity for the summer flight season of 1999). This capacity is sufficient to meet all the scheduled demand for runway slots as well as delayed and additional flights during the three days following the accident. There were however a number of flight delay and re-scheduling as a result of the adverse weather.

29. As evident from paragraphs 23 to 26 above, the re-opening of the South Runway was a complex exercise. The staff of the AA/CAD and the recovery team worked round the clock and their efforts had made the re-opening of the runway in the morning of Monday 30 August possible.

Economic Services Bureau
30 August 1999

Annex A

The Firefight and Rescue Operations
on 22 August 1999

Fire Services Response and Time of Arrival

At around 1845 hours, the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATC) at the airport activated the 'crash alarm' of the Airport Fire Contingent (AFC). Fourteen fire appliances and two ambulances from the AFC Main and Sub-Fire Stations responded, and they arrived at the scene of crash within 1 minute (i.e. 1846 hours).

2. At the same time, the ATC also alerted the Fire Services Communication Centre (FSCC). In accordance with laid down procedures, the FSCC immediately dispatched reinforcing fire appliances from other units outside the airport, including Chek Lap Kok and Tung Chung Fire Stations. The first reinforcing fire appliance arrived at the airport six minutes later (1852 hours), followed closely by all the others.

Number of Fire Services appliances and staff deployed

3. The total Fire Services resources committed to this incident are summarized as follows:

Initial Response from AFC

Fire AppliancesAmbulances Fire StaffAmbulance
14 242648

Reinforcements to the Airport

Fire AppliancesAmbulances Fire StaffAmbulance
14 5563175238

Total Attendance

Fire AppliancesAmbulances Fire StaffAmbulance

Additionally, four ambulances from the Auxiliary Medical Services and seven from the St. John Ambulance Brigade also attended.

The Crash Scene

4. While speeding to the crash scene, drivers of fire appliances had to overcome very low visibility due to torrential rain and erratic surface winds. They had to be extremely cautious on approaching, because of the presence of strewn debris and moving people who at that time were starting to escape from the wrecked aircraft.

5. Upon arrival at the scene of incident, firemen found the passenger aircraft MD-11 fully overturned and lying on the grass area between taxiways J6 & J7. Its starboard wing was detached from the fuselage. The fuselage was engulfed in flames particularly in the region of the starboard wing, tail end and port wing. The No.2 engine (from the tail) was also found detached and burning on the ground to the right of the aircraft's tail. In front of the nose of the aircraft, a long trail of about 100 x 20m of spilt fuel was burning vigorously. Large patches of spilt aviation fuel was burning underneath and around the aircraft.

6. The possibility of an explosive cloud forming from escaping aviation fuel was imminent. The explosive risk was endangering the lives of the 315 personnel on board as well as the fire-fighting and rescue crews.

7. Passengers were seen escaping from 2 fully opened exit doors and a hole on the portside, and one partially opened door on the starboard side of the fuselage. Intense heat from the fires and heavy smoke were severely hampering the escape efforts of the passengers.

Fire Fighting Operation

8. Within a few seconds of arrival at scene, all AFC fire appliances took up strategic positions as commanded by the Rescue Leader. As the fire was spreading to the fuselage and affecting escape, 8 foam monitors on the roof of the AFC fire appliances were rapidly deployed to suppress the fires that threatened the mid-ship and tail portions of the fuselage, as well as to tackle the running fires due to the spilt fuel. Finished foam was discharged at a rate of 50,000 litres per minute from the foam monitors.

9. The application of foam under high winds presented a problem, as the finished foam was light and could be blown away. The foam tenders had thus to be positioned very close to the fire and at the best possible angle of approach. Although this posed a high exposure hazard to the fire-fighters, this tactic proved to be a success and the fuselage fire was brought under control in 2 minutes and suppressed within 5 minutes. The long trail of fire on the runway and around the aircraft was completely extinguished within 15 minutes.

Rescue Operation

10. The 14 fire appliances were grouped into four operational units, each with a combination of foam-making, hose-laying and rescue capabilities. The fire-fighting and rescue operation were carried out concurrently upon arrival. Passengers were assisted out of the wreckage by fire-fighters, and many of them needed a lot of reassuring to recompose themselves. Firemen wearing breathing apparatus entered the fuselage to release passengers that were still strapped onto their seats and stranded at high level or otherwise trapped by deformed materials. Many passengers were injured to varying degrees, some were too weak or were in shock and had to be carried out of and away from the wreckage. As the aircraft was overturned, the search and rescue work inside the aircraft was constrained by its narrow space and the absence of a gangway. The presence of a large amount of scattered personal belongings and small luggage also restricted free movement.

11. By about 1853 hours, i.e., about 8 minutes after arrival, some 200 passengers were rescued and led to safety at a temporary collection point on the runway. With the concerted efforts of all fire-fighters, including crews from the reinforcing appliances and ambulances, the remaining passengers were rescued and continued to be conveyed to the collection point and subsequently to casualty clearing stations. The last passenger was rescued from the wreckage at about 2102 hours. Search and rescue operations continued until about 0335 hours when confirmation was received from the Police that all persons had been accounted for.

Casualty treatment and triage

12. The 2 ambulances of AFC arrived at scene together with the fire appliances. The ambulance crews set up a 1st Casualty Clearing Station at taxiway J6 to provide medical treatment to the casualties on spot. However due to exceptionally adverse weather conditions, one of the ambulances was re-established as the 1st Casualty Clearing Station and triage was started inside the ambulance. The ambulance crews raced to render treatment to casualties, assisted later by reinforcing teams. At about 1911 hours, the first ambulance started to covey 5 casualties for Princess Margaret Hospital, and they arrived at the hospital at 1946 hours, slightly over an hour after the initial call was received.

13. Ambulancemen and Firemen exercised utmost patience and professionalism in calming down and reassuring the hysterical casualties while at the same time trying to treat and stabilize their injuries.

14. A 2nd Casualty Clearing Station was established at taxiway J6 at 1945 hours. A temporary mortuary was set up with the use of an ambulance, and a triage point was set up at the APV Lounge on ground floor of the Passenger Terminal Building N21. More than a hundred passengers were ferried to the triage point by Airport Shuttle Buses. The Ambulance Triage Officer sorted out casualties according to their degree of injuries and arranged their conveyance to hospital after primary treatment.

15. Airport Port Health Officer with his nurse from the Department of Health and the doctor and nurses from the airport private clinic were sent to the scene and APV lounge as first medical team. Two Medical Teams, from Princess Margaret Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital also attended the scene of incident to render medical treatment at the Mobile Casualty Treatment Centre.

16. At 2150 hours, about 3 hours after the time of call, all casualties were treated and conveyed to various hospitals, namely Princess Margaret Hospital, Yan Chai Hopsital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital, Tuen Mun Hospital and Caritas Medical Centre. Together they received a total of 216 casualties from this incident, and subsequently 212 of them were registered by the Hospital Authority. Ambulance personnel at the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station carried on standby duties until all actions were finally completed at about 0355 hours the following day.

17. The breakdown of casualty conveyance by ambulances of the Department, Auxiliary Medical Services and St. John Ambulance Brigade is as follows:

Casualty Conveyance

Ambulance ServiceTripsNo. of casualties conveyed
Fire Services Department57152
Auxiliary Medical Services419
St. John Ambulance Brigade7 45


18. A total of 99 passengers and air crew members were rescued uninjured. They were arranged to airport hotels for rest and accommodation.

Uninjured or Slightly Injured Passengers / Air Crew Members

19. According to the emergency procedures, uninjured or slightly injured passengers / air crew members (usually refer to those who are capable of moving around without assistance) will be taken by buses to the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB). After the accident, the Hong Kong Airport Services Limited immediately dispatched 10 large buses and a van with 28 seats to scene. By around 19:15, the first bus had transferred the first batch of passengers / air crew members to the PTB. Other buses followed suit and a total of some 270 persons were transferred, with the last bus arrived at 19:46. At least one unused bus remained at scene as a command point and shelter from the strong wind and rain during that night.

20. Owing to the large number of persons that needed to be transferred, quite some time was used in the process. It was possible that some uninjured passengers/air crew members had remained at scene for, say, 30 minutes. However, the focus of rescue operation is to save life and the rescue teams had to accord priority to the more seriously injured persons. While we are mindful of the wish of the uninjured passengers / air crew members to leave the scene as soon as possible, we also hope that they could understand the priority of the rescue operation. In any case, the concerned Departments and agencies will take the experience gained into account in their review of the rescue operation.


21. In this incident, the Fire Services Department has fully discharged its duties in providing fire-fighting, rescue and ambulance services in accordance with the Contingency Plans for Dealing with an Aircraft Crash in Hong Kong. Despite the hoisting of No. 8 Typhoon signal and the difficult situations, the overall rescue operation was successfully completed. The Fire Services resources from both the air-side and land-side have shown to be effective in tackling such a situation.

Annex B

Provision of Medical Service by
Hospital Authority

1. The Head Office Duty Room of the Hospital Authority was activated at 18:55 to coordinate the overall hospitals' contingency responses and to liaise with various government departments, including the Fire Services Department, Police, Immigration Department, Auxiliary Medical Services etc.

2. Two medical teams including 3 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 health care assistants were dispatched to the accident site to help triage the patients according to the seriousness of their injuries and provide treatment to victims requiring immediate medical care.

3. Six hospitals activated their disaster contingency plans to receive casualties, namely the Princess Margaret Hospital, Yan Chai Hospital, Caritas Medical Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital.

4. An additional 110 doctors and 400 nurses were mobilized on the day to treat the victims.

5. Help-desks and hotlines at each receiving hospital were set up to answer enquiries. Hospital Authority's clinical psychologists were also deployed to provide psychology support to patients and families in need of assistance.

6. Statistics of Victims as of 22 August 1999

Total number of casualties registered by the Hospital Authority: 212 (including 2 dead before arrival)
Conditions of casualties :
Dead before arrival2
Breakdown of casualties registered
Caritas Medical Centre24
Kwong Wah Hospital23
Princess Margaret Hospital40
Queen Elizabeth Hospital 66  (including 1
dead before arrival)
Tuen Mun Hospital28
Yan Chai Hospital31  (including 1 dead
before arrival)
No. of patients hospitalised:65

Annex C

The Role of the Airport Authority

The Rescue Operation

In the rescue operation on 22/23 August 1999, the Airport Authority played a coordination, facilitation and supporting role. In this regard, the Authority -

  1. activated the Airport Emergency Centre (AEC) immediately after the accident to facilitate, support and coordinate the rescue operation and the normal activities at the airport, as well as to disseminate information on the aircraft accident (in fact, the AEC had already been activated at 11:30 hours on 22 August 1999 in anticipation of the hoisting of Typhoon Signal No. 8);

  2. alerted all departments concerned of the emergency through the 3 AA control centres i.e. Apron Control Centre (ACC), Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) and Ground Transportation Control Centre (GTCC);

  3. established contact point (Mobile Liaison Centre) at scene and passed first-hand information to the AEC and ACC, and to serve as on-scene support to the commander;

  4. assisted rescue teams like the Fire Services in entering the airport restricted areas and arriving at scene speedily and efficiently;

  5. assisted Fire Services and the Police to rescue passengers on-scene;

  6. provided medical supplies to the rescue teams to treat the injured persons;

  7. assisted the Police in cordoning off the scene with a view to facilitating the rescue operation;

  8. assisted the medical teams in treating the injured persons and putting them into the ambulances;

  9. established the South APV Lounge as a reception centre for the processing of non-hospitalised passengers; arranged medical personnel to look after the uninjured or slightly injured passengers; registered and confirmed their identity to facilitate head-count by the Police and the Immigration Department; provided supplies such as blankets, clothing, shoes, beverages and food, first aid medicine to passengers and rescue personnel as necessary;

  10. established a congregation centre at Airport Hotel to facilitate friends and relatives to meet non-hospitalised passengers;

  11. established reception centre to receive the meeters and greeters and arranged them to meet the passengers concerned;

  12. provided transport for passengers and their corresponding meeters and greeters to leave the airport;

  13. regularly updated the media by providing information on the accident and the progress on the rescue operations;

  14. advised passengers to check with the airlines on their flights before going to the airport;

  15. managed the disruption to airport operation arising from the accident and expedited restoration of airport facilities to resume operation; and

  16. resumed aircraft movements on the North Runway.

Assistance Provided for Meeter and Greeters of Passengers on CI642

2. To help the meeters and greeters of the passengers on CI642, the AA set up a reception centre at the northern end of the Meeters and Greeters Hall of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) in accordance with the relevant emergency procedures. The centre was in operation between 19:30 to 23:30. It was manned by 4 China Airlines staff and 8 AA staff under the leadership of AA's General Manager - Terminal Operations. Enhanced access and crowd control at PTB was provided by the Aviation Security Co. Ltd., the Police and AA Terminal Operations staff. Announcements were made on a regular basis to ask the meeters and greeters to contact the AA Information Counter on Level 5 of the PTB, who were then invited to the reception centre for registration. After registration, they were escorted by China Airlines/AA staff to the congregation centre in the Regal Airport Hotel for meeting the uninjured passengers, who had been escorted from the airside to the hotel direct. As regards the injured passengers, hospital information was also provided to meeters and greeters. The arrangements were proved to be smooth.

Operation of the Passenger Terminal Building before Re-opening of the Airport

3. As soon as the airport was closed, airlines were informed accordingly. In respect of announcements at the PTB, the AA considered that it would be more appropriate to provide, if possible, a clear indication of when the airport would be re-opened. Otherwise, it could well lead to added passenger frustration. Shortly after 20:00 on 22 August 1999, when a preliminary time-frame regarding the re-opening of the airport was available, an announcement was made to the effect that due to an incident on the South Runway, the airport was temporarily closed and further information would be provided at around mid-night. Thereafter, this announcement was repeated every 15 minutes.

4. At around midnight when it became clearer that the airport could be re-opened by 01:00 23 August 1999 (through the use of the North Runway), the Chairman of the Airline Operations Committee and the airlines were immediately informed and a new announcement was made in the PTB accordingly.

Operation of the Airport from 23 to 25 August 1999

5. Owing mainly to poor weather, there were flight disruptions between 23 and 25 August 1999. Airport operations has returned to normal since 25 August 1999. AA is mindful of the inconvenience faced by passengers affected by the disruptions. To help these passengers, it had -

  1. provided the latest information on runway closure to the airlines and passengers (via public announcements in the PTB);

  2. provided updated flight information received from airlines to passengers via the Flight Information Display System and AA information counters located on the landside and airside;

  3. provided additional check-in desks to help airlines handle passengers;

  4. stepped up terminal building staff patrols by providing additional staff to help airlines with enquiries from passengers, to provide assistance and to maintain order in the PTB;

  5. closely monitored and liaised with airlines on flight movements with a view to expedite departure of stranded passengers;

  6. provided facilities to help airlines accommodate their stranded passengers e.g. overnight rooms in the PTB for passengers who could not get accommodation at hotels;

  7. opened additional transfer and transit facilities to facilitate processing of stranded transfer and transit passengers;

  8. provided temporary barriers to airlines to cordon off and facilitate passenger enquiries at airline counters;

  9. liaised with caterers and retailers to have them stock up and mobilise additional manpower to provide food, drinks and other amenities to the stranded passengers throughout the night;

  10. increased the manpower of the cleaning contractor to cope with the additional demand on toilets;

  11. stepped up maintenance checks to ensure PTB facilities (e.g. payphones, seats, air conditioning, toilets etc.) continue to operate efficiently and effectively;

  12. helped airlines with baggage processing e.g. storage and system adjustment to accommodate the increase in delayed baggage; and

  13. worked with Immigration and Customs & Excise Departments to increase overnight manning to facilitate departure of stranded passengers.

6. Furthermore, AA asked and obtained agreement from airlines to provide, where possible, larger aircraft and more flights to help ease congestion at the airport. The backlog of flights was cleared and operations at the PTB returned to normal on 25 August 1999. AA also asked various airlines to deploy more staff to assist with passenger processing at the airport. China Airlines arranged additional flights as well as approached other airlines to help clear their stranded passengers.

1. Cross-wind refers to the component of wind blowing at right angles to an aircraft. When an aircraft encounters cross-wind, it will drift either to the right or to the left of the intended flight path, depending on the direction of the cross-wind, in the absence of pilot action.

2. In aviation, windshear refers to the changes in the headwind component arising from the variation in wind direction and speed encountered by aircraft in flight sustained over a period such that pilot control is required. When an aircraft encounters windshear, it will cause deviation from the intended flight path in the absence of pilot action.

3. Turbulence manifests itself as variation of wind direction and speed in space, but is of smaller length scale and smaller time scale than those of windshear. It causes aircraft to bump and jolt rapidly but its effect on the flight path is small.

4. According to ICAO standard, for aerodromes designed for aircraft whose reference field length is 1 500 m or over (including the airport at Chek Lap Kok), the corresponding cross-wind level that should be adopted for the calculation of the frequency of cross-wind occurrence is 20kt.