Air Navigation Service Provider Teams (Civil Aviation Department)
Senior Safety & Quality Officer, Civil Aviation Department, Wong Shan-ngar, Sarah said, "The Civil Aviation Department will not be complacent. Instead, we always examine the situation and plan ahead."
"Before the typhoon warning signal no. 8 was issued, our Air Traffic Management Division coordinated with the Air Traffic Engineering Services Division in manpower deployment. We gathered some 100 frontline staff to stand ready for the upcoming challenge. Our colleagues in the aviation industry put safety as our top priority, then we pool all our energy to resume operation."
Sarah continued, "As a member of the team, my mission is to ensure the safety of aircraft in the sky. I am very proud to be part of this team."
The Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. Besides handling the huge volume of flights every day to ensure aviation safety, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has to gear up for unexpected challenges.
The CAD handles over 2,100 flight movements every day. Its service covers not only the Hong Kong International Airport but also the entire Hong Kong Flight Information Region.
Sarah said, "The Hong Kong Flight Information Region spans the South China Sea, covering an area of 276,000 km2, which is approximately equivalent to 250 times the size of Hong Kong."
To cope with the ever-increasing demand, the CAD commissioned its Air Traffic Management System in end 2016. The new System increased the capacity for flight plan processing by five times, enabling the real-time monitoring of 1,500 air or ground targets as well as simultaneous reception and integration of information gathered from different channels.
She explained that the new Air Traffic Management System integrates weather image, which could be associated with the presence of gusty wind, heavy rains and even lightning, into the radar display monitor. Air traffic controllers are able to proactively plan for a flight route to avoid the adverse weather zone.
She said, "Our colleagues find the new Air Traffic Management System very user-friendly as they can get all the information instantly in one integrated system without having to check from different sources. Most importantly, it helps enhance our air traffic control operation and working efficiency."
Scientific Officer, Hong Kong Observatory, Kok Mang-hin said, "In our collaboration with the CAD, we are impressed by the professionalism of CAD colleagues who strive to continuously upgrade their service quality in coping with adverse weather to ensure aviation safety. Knowing that the CAD has access to advanced weather information to facilitate their operation, as a citizen, I feel a lot more secure when taking a flight back to Hong Kong."
To ensure instant access to accurate information, facilities which support air traffic management including radars, navigational aids and other communication equipment are installed at different locations of Hong Kong. The radar station at Mount Parker in Quarry Bay is one of the CAD’s 13 outstations managed by the Air Traffic Engineering Services Division.
Senior Electronics Engineer, Civil Aviation Department, Tsao Chi-wai, Felix said, "Our radar signals provide important information to our Air Traffic Control Officers. Therefore, we have to be meticulous in examining every piece of wire and signal to ensure that information can be clearly conveyed via the devices to facilitate our Air Traffic Control Officers in making crucial judgements."
In September 2018, Super Typhoon Mangkhut struck Hong Kong. A week before the approach of the typhoon, CAD deployed technical staff to inspect the 13 outstations. On the other hand, CAD discussed with airlines and the Airport Authority Hong Kong to divert all aircraft from the airport before the typhoon struck, resulting in an empty apron at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Sarah said, "It did not mean that we were not engaged in any work even though there were no aircraft, as we still had to provide service to aircraft overflying Hong Kong. Before the typhoon signal no. 8 was issued, our Air Traffic Management Division coordinated with the Air Traffic Engineering Services Division in manpower deployment. We gathered some 100 frontline staff to stand ready for the upcoming challenge."
As Mangkhut gradually moved away from Hong Kong, our Air Traffic Management Division colleagues made use of the integrated forecast system to estimate the operating condition after service resumption. They then informed the Airport Authority Hong Kong and airlines to resume the takeoff and landing of flights. Meanwhile, the Air Traffic Engineering Services Division sent staff to the outstations to carry out inspection and perform necessary maintenance work.
Tsao Chi-wai, Felix said, "Mangkhut left behind a trail of severe destruction, landslides and collapsed trees. Our colleagues had to walk all the way up the hills, carrying with them heavy instruments and spare parts for maintenance work. They overcame the difficulties and successfully completed the job."
Air traffic was resumed after the typhoon warning signal was cancelled. With flight number running from 0 to 1,280, everything was back to normal within one and half day. The CAD accomplished an almost impossible mission.
Sarah said, "Whenever there is a typhoon, our colleagues in the aviation industry always put safety as our top priority, then we pool all our energy to resume operation. The professionalism touches me greatly. I am confident that the air traffic management of Hong Kong is in capable hands and I am very proud to be part of this team."
Tsao Chi-wai, Felix said, "As civil servants, whenever we encounter difficulties, we must come forward with courage to solve the problems. In all circumstances, we will strive to do our best to serve the public."
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