Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was closed to both passenger and cargo service early in the morning of 6 July 1998, with all flights moving to the brand-new airport at Chek Lap Kok. However, shortly afterwards, Kai Tak was temporarily reactivated for cargo service (quoting Wikipedia; emphasis added):

Government reports later revealed that Chek Lap Kok airport was not completely ready to be opened to the public despite trial runs held. Water supply and sewers were not installed completely. Telephones were installed, but the lines were not connected. The baggage system did not undergo extensive troubleshooting and passenger baggage as well as cargo, much of which was perishable, were lost. The government decided to temporarily reactivate Kai Tak's cargo terminal to minimise the damage caused by a software bug in the new airport's cargo handling system. During this period, the airport was given temporary ICAO code VHHX.

The article makes no mention of how long this arrangement lasted.

When did Kai Tak close as a cargo airport for the second and final time?


1 Answer 1


The cargo terminal was closed for good by 24th August, 1998.

First Anniversary of Hong Kong SAR: Infrastructure Development

Air cargo handling was more seriously affected by problems with the automated handling system at the new 'Super Terminal 1' operated by Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (HACTL). This forced HACTL to re-open its air cargo facility at Kai Tak until the new terminal at Chek Lap Kok - one of the world's biggest - was running smoothly. By August 24, all incoming and outgoing air cargo was being handled at HACTL's new Super Terminal 1.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ So why did it need its own ICAO code, if only the ground facilities were reopened, and not the airport itself? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 23:57
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @Sean Probably the easiest way to deal with a multitude of cargo handling and routing computer systems. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 0:05
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Sean The airport itself was reopened, but only to cargo flights. I operated into and out of there several times during the reopening on 747 freighter flights. Thus, for flight planning and ATC purposes, the airport needed its own code. Actually, that period was delightful, with no pax flights going into the airport, there were no delays, either in the air or on the ground, and the normally crowded ramps had plenty of room. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 17:07

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