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Launch of Book on Hong Kong’s First Airport Study Covering Longest Period of Time


The book launch event was held at Asia Society Hong Kong. Dr Lau Chi-pang and several guests shared their fond memories of Kai Tak and Chek Lap Kok airports. (From left to right) James Tsui, General Manager, Corporate Communications, AA; Dr Lau Chi-pang ; Carolyn Leung, Manager, Corporate Communications, Cathay Pacific; Ricky Leung, General Manager, Technical Services, AA; James Ng, aviation enthusiast; Ivan Chan, Associate Commander (Training), Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps.
Award winners of the "A Mosaic of Memories" airport photo collection campaign. (Right) Ricky Leung presents prize to Lau Shu Hing.
Award winners of the "A Mosaic of Memories" airport photo collection campaign. (Right) Dr Lau Chi-pang presents prize to Alan Leung.
Award winners of the "A Mosaic of Memories" airport photo collection campaign. (Right) Carolyn Leung presents prize to Mathew Tsang.
“天空下的傳奇 - 從啟德到赤鱲角”, a new book launched about the history of airports in Hong Kong.

(HONG KONG, 12 September 2014)  –  Advancements in technology have driven rapid development in the aviation industry, making travelling, studying abroad or taking business trips much more convenient. It’s hard to imagine that just a few dozen years ago, air travel was such a rare and important occasion that saw friends and relatives dressing up to bid travellers farewell at the airport. Some may even remember the days when – due to a lack of facilities – a remote red-roofed house outside the terminal would be open for group check-in during peak seasons. Although we may not recall these scenes personally, a new book on the history of Hong Kong’s airports was launched today, allowing the new generation to relive these moments from our city’s collective past.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) commissioned Dr Lau Chi-pang, Director of the Hong Kong Local Records Office and Associate Professor of the Department of History at Lingnan University, to conduct a historical study of Hong Kong’s airports – from the Kai Tak era to Chek Lap Kok. This is Hong Kong’s first historical airport study covering such a long period of time, and the findings of the study, together with the oral history stories provided by a number of interviewees, have been published in the new Chinese book titled “天空下的傳奇 - 從啟德到赤鱲角”.

The set of books has two volumes: the first volume provides an overview of the airport’s development in Hong Kong, showcasing the core values of airport management and the close ties between the airport and Hong Kong’s economy. The second volume highlights collective memories of the airport with a mosaic of photos, some provided by the general public. A total of 36 oral history interviews lend a personal tone, filled with stories and memories related to the airport. 

At the book launch ceremony today, Dr Lau said, “The aviation industry took root in Hong Kong in the 1920s, and it has never stopped its pace of development. In the 1980s, when the air traffic control tower first commenced service in Kai Tak, the airport served an average of 200 flights per day. At present, air traffic movements at Chek Lap Kok reach over 1,050 every day, marking a significant growth. The set of books records Hong Kong’s aviation history over the past century, and we have referred to many historical files, official publications, newspaper reports, literature, photos, maps and also oral history interviews during the research process.”

"Throughout the Kai Tak and Chek Lap Kok eras, the airport has upheld the same beliefs and principles - which are seen not only in the new facilities, but also through the passing of management experience. Over the past years, the airport has continuously improved by learning from Kai Tak’s experience and reached new heights. With no doubt, the airport is a source of pride for every Hong Kong citizen, as well as a legend in airport development around the world,” Dr Lau added.   

Three oral history interviewees were also invited to attend the book launch ceremony, sharing their memories about Kai Tak and Chek Lap Kok airports. One of the guests was Ricky Leung, General Manager, Technical Services, AA, who shared his work at the Civil Aviation Department during the planning stages of Chek Lap Kok airport, as well as the challenges faced after operations began at the new airport.   

A prize presentation ceremony was also held during the event, in which the winning participants of the recently held “A Mosaic of Memories” airport photo collection campaign were presented with their prizes. The campaign was well received, drawing more than 1,400 precious and historical photo submissions. The judging panel chose 22 photos, which record Hong Kong citizens’ impressions of the airport, to be published in the book.      

A website ( has been set up for the public to read a part of the book and view several selected photos.

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