Here’s a recent photograph taken on arrival into Hong Kong, looking towards the West with Hong Kong Island on the left and the Kowloon peninsular on the right. In the foreground of the picture, and sticking out into Victoria Harbour, is the still recognisable shape of the old runway at Kai Tak airport, which closed in 1998. I never had the opportunity of landing at this airport – I wish I had; by all accounts it was an ‘interesting’ manoeuvre to say the least! Many old photos abound on the internet of aircraft seemingly brushing the apartment blocks of Kowloon as they made their turning approach to land on Runway 13. Passengers arriving into Hong Kong talked of being able to look into local residents’ apartments shortly before landing.
Last week, the ‘runway’ began a new life as a terminal for the new generation of ‘mega’ cruise ships that now ply the World’s Oceans. The terminal is the silvery blob at the end of the runway; the rest of the old Kai Tak site remains largely undeveloped – an incredible anomaly in Hong Kong’s land hungry dominion.