16 February 2011

Kai Tak

No I've not gone to Hong Kong, it's much too far away for a week off work since it takes a whole day just to get there when you consider the time differences as well. Plus a lot of airlines are flying much slower to save gas.

I remember Kai Tak with great amounts of glee as you could watch airplanes land from where I used to stay in Kowloon as a young child. Granted it is no St Marteen.

But you could reach up from a tall Kowloon building and nearly touch the aircraft.

Of course it was scarier when you were actually inside one of those 747s as you swear with night landings you could see televisions and people eating noodles inside their flats from the air plane windows.

On a related note:

Why was Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport closed? (asked elsewhere)

  • It was full. ALL of the landing and take off slots were full up, so it was filled to capacity this strangled trade and tourism.
  • It was dangerous, the Kai Tak landing required special training to land due to the mountains around HK look at videos on youtube. Even taking off was iffy as the end of the runway was sinking, you would hear the engines splutter on take off due to water splashing into the engines it was that bad.
  • As part of #2 with Kai Tak gone Kowloon land was freed up. With Kai Tak nothing on the approach to Kai Tak could be built more than 14 stories high. Once the landing flight path was gone buildings could pop up at any number of floors.
  • Kaitak's land itself was also freed up for residential buildings to ease the uber overcrowding of HK.
  • Pork barrelling. The HK economy was great in the 1980s and 1990s, they simply could not take the money away as the PRC and HK people would hate them for this. So the colonial government built a massive airport bring in expensive British contractors to do much of the work. Therefore funnelling much of the surpluses of HK into British pockets.


  1. You list a raft of practical reasons why Kai Tak was closed then you spouted a bit of anti- British rhetoric at the end which contradicted your earlier points. If you want to look at pork barrel politics at its most extreme look no further than the PRC, not only in their own country but also their habit as starting dubious "aid" projects in developing countries just to keep Chinese companies in business ! That aside i enjoyed the videos of landing at Kai Tak, it bought back good, if hair raising memories of my many travels to HKG in the 90's, landing at the new airport is just plain boring ! but still love HKG - Great place!

  2. Oh I know that the PRC is incredibly corrupt and has many dubious practices. The point is that it does not have the monopoly on such things. The pork barrelling thing is a comment I've heard from lots and lots of people I've met in HK.