The take-off route of the third runway to be built at the Hong Kong International Airport is overlapping with that of Shenzhen’s airport, presenting possible risks of mid-air collisions, former Observatory director Lam Chiu-ying warned.
In a post on his personal web blog, Lam said when planes start taking off from the third runway, the vertical clearance with aircraft leaving the Shenzhen Airport could be less than the minimum 1,000 feet required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Apple Daily reports.
Lam shared a picture taken at the Lamma Island a month ago, which shows two aircraft heading towards each other as if they are to collide head-on.
In reality, the two planes were about 2,800 feet apart vertically, above the ICAO minimum requirement for vertical clearance, he said.
But the meteorologist said he wanted to share the picture to heighten awareness and concerns of possible aircraft collisions when the third runway becomes operational.
For planes that would need to go around, say, following an aborted landing at the final approach, two of the specified flight paths on the third runway specified by the Hong Kong Airport Authority are overlapping with that of Shenzhen Airport, Lam said.
“That is another potential area of danger,” he said.
The Civil Aviation Department said the two planes appearing in the picture posted by Lam were more than 1,000 feet apart and were compliant with the ICAO requirements.
The department also dismissed Lam’s suggestions that there could be collision risks as flight paths overlap.
Lam told hk01.com reporters that it is not uncommon for planes to be asked to make a go-around.
“Adverse weather conditions, foreign objects or a vehicle appearing on the runway, and other events could easily prompt a go-around, meaning the air traffic could get busy at a very short notice,” he said.
Unless the Shenzhen Airport discontinues the use of its two south-bound flight paths, the safety risk will always be there, Lam said.
However, he acknowledged that the Shenzhen Airport could simply go out of business if it abandoned its two south-bound flights.
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