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Deferred opening would have saved HK airport chaos

CHAOS AT Hong Kong's new airport could have been avoided by postponing the opening for two months, the Commission of Inquiry concluded last week.

The official report into the problems after opening said neither the Airport Authority nor the builder of the cargo handling terminal suggested deferral. Instead they left everyone working 'diligently but blindly' towards the goal of opening on 6 July.

Over-confidence also contributed to the problems, said the report. The Airport Authority's top management failed to identify the risk of using so many new systems on opening day, despite progressive delays in construction and commissioning works. Only sketchy contingency plans were in place, with no overall risk assessment.

The main cause of the chaos, the Commission said, was the deficiency of the flight information display system, plus breakdown of the cargo handling system.

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