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Veteran Engineer Chairs Investigation into Air-bridge Incident
Nine Suspended Air Bridges Pass Ultrasonic Inspection

 (HONG KONG, 12 April 2013)  –  The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) announced today that independent, veteran engineer Edmund Leung Kwong-ho will chair the investigation task force looking into the collapse of the two air bridges at Gate W71 on the Northwest Concourse (NWC) of Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on 7 April.

Targeted for completion within three months, the comprehensive investigation will identify the cause, or causes, of the incident and make recommendations to prevent a similar incident occurring in the future. Once the investigation has been concluded, the task force will publicise findings of the study after submitting the report to the AA Board and Civil Aviation Department.

AA's Executive Director, Projects, John Chai, will act as Vice Chairman and other independent experts may be invited to join the task force as appropriate. Mr Chai is an engineer by training and does not have direct responsibility for airport operations.

Two working groups under the task force are being formed to identify all relevant facts covering the operational and technical aspects of the incident. Representatives from Cathay Pacific, the airline involved in the incident that sustained damage to an aircraft door; Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd, the ground handling company operating the collapsed air bridges; and The Jardine Engineering Corporation, Limited, the air-bridge maintenance contractor and any other companies and/ or personnel who may assist in the investigation will also be called upon to participate.

On 7 April, the rear air bridge at Gate W71 suddenly collapsed, causing the front air bridge to fall. Immediately after the incident, the AA suspended the operation of all rear air bridges and carried out an overnight inspection to ensure the proper functioning of all front and rear air bridges at Terminal 1. Of the 99 air bridges at Terminal 1, 88 resumed operation at dawn on 8 April after comprehensive checks. Of the remaining 11 air bridges that did not resume operation, two were at Gate W71 that will have to be re-provided and nine other are NWC rear air bridges, which are of the same design and manufacture as the rear air bridge at Gate W71 in 1999.

Although the overnight checks indicated that the nine NWC rear air bridges function properly, to be extra cautious, the AA organised an ultrasonic inspection of the bridges. A.E.S Destructive and Non-destructive Testing Limited, a government-approved specialist contractor for non-destructive testing of bolts, performed the on-site ultrasonic inspection of all rotunda bolts used in the nine air bridges and did not identify any defects. Rotunda bolts were the point of failure of Gate W71's air bridge.

Despite these satisfactory inspection results, the AA has decided, as an additional precautionary measure, to continue suspending the nine air bridges for use until after findings of the investigation are revealed.

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