When you are on a sightseeing in Hong Kong, you will quickly find out that this amazing city has always been a place of constant change. One of the most interesting changes though is when the famous Kai Tak Airport became the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal!
Built in the 1920s, it was used as an airfield by several flying clubs. During WW II, when Hong Kong fell in the hands of Japan, the runways 13/31 and 07/25 were built.
After its expansion, Kai Tak Aiport’s capacity was planned to handle 24 million passengers a year. However, in 1996 it handled 29.5 million passengers, plus 1.56 million tonnes of freight, making it the third busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic, and busiest in terms of international cargo throughput. Initially, Kai Tak was far away from residential areas but the expansion of both, the airport and the residential area, made it very close and eventually leading to very high noise pollution AND the famous pictures that we know.
When the government found the present day site to build the Chek Lap Kok airport, Kai Tak was originally thought to be developed into a residential area. However, voices from the public were raised to protect the harbour. After long processes, finally in 2006 blueprints were introduced and today’s Kai Tak Cruise Ship Terminal was completed in late 2013 due to re-tendering. The first ship berthed on 12 June 2013.
The terminal has the capacity to berth two large 360-metre (1,180 ft) long vessels, which carry a total of 5,400 passengers and 1,200 crew, as well as anticipating the demands of cruise liners currently on the drawing board.
Should your cruise ship arrive at this terminal, you can start your Hong Kong local tour right there from the terminal! Although, sometimes it might feel like all 6,600 people got off the cruise ship at the same time, don’t be alarmed! Your Hong Kong local guide will be happy to meet you at the arrivals.
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