Comparison map of Kai Tak and modern times in 1955

The top of the picture is a map of Kai Tak in 1955 (source: Overseas Chinese Daily Yearbook), and the bottom is modern.

Why is Kai Tak called Kai Tak?

In the early 1920s, Sir Ho Kai and Mr. Au Tack (also known as Au Tack) jointly operated "Kai Tack Land Investment Co., Ltd." (Kai Tack Land Investment Co., Ltd.) to carry out reclamation projects on the north shore of Kowloon Bay. The original plan was to develop into a garden city residential area. The "Kai Tak" company was named after Ho Kai and Au Tak, and the newly reclaimed land was named "Kai Tak Bun" after the company name.

73 years (1925-1998) development history of Kai Tak Airport

early 1920s
  • Sir Ho Kai and Mr. Au Tack (also known as Au Zemin) jointly operated "Kai Tack Land Investment Co., Ltd." (Kai Tack Land Investment Co., Ltd.) to carry out reclamation projects on the north shore of Kowloon Bay, originally planned to develop into a garden city residential area.
February 1924
  • Due to the two strikes in Hong Kong in the 1920s, the project was delayed and the income was not as expected, so Kai Tak Company closed down. American Harry Abbott leased part of the reclaimed land from Kai Tak Sales Co., Ltd. to run a flight school.
January 24, 1925 (Lunar New Year's Day)
  • Kai Tak's first record flight date. In the same year, the Hong Kong government proposed to reserve the land in Kai Tak for the purpose of building an airport if necessary in the future.
since March 1927
  • Abbott's flying school soon ceased operation, and RAF aircraft began to park on Kai Tak land as the Kai Tak Sales Company was unable to develop the land into a residential area. The government reached an agreement with Kai Tak Investment Company in December of the same year, and the government purchased the land at HK$1,007,250.
  • An important year in Hong Kong's aviation history, the first commercial airline: Imperial Airways (the predecessor of British Airways) provided passenger services to and from Hong Kong. On March 24, the first scheduled commercial passenger flight arrived in Hong Kong from Penang.
December 8, 1941
  • The Hong Kong Defense War broke out, and the Japanese army bombed Kai Tak Airport on the same day, making Hong Kong completely lose its air control capability.
  • In March 1942, the Japanese army expanded Kai Tak Airport and recruited thousands of workers to blow up the sacred mountain where the historical site Song Wangtai is located. The stones they obtained were used to build a runway across Clear Water Bay Road, which was completed at the end of 1943.
  • The Japanese army also dismantled the original aviation building. The stone wall of the Kowloon Walled City to the northwest of the airport and more than 20 nearby villages including Po Kong Village were also demolished. Among them, the entire village of Tai Hom Village, together with the Chu Ancestral Hall, was razed to the ground.
August 15, 1945
  • Japan surrendered, and Kai Tak Airport was severely damaged by Allied bombing in the latter part of World War II.
  • In order to rebuild Kai Tak Airport after the war, the government leveled the remaining part of the "Holy Mountain" and cut the Songwangtai Stele from the remaining stones, and moved it to the newly built Songwangtai Garden for exhibition.
May 1, 1946
  • The Civil Aviation Department was established to manage aviation services in Hong Kong until now.
  • In 1954, the Hong Kong government launched an airport
  • The Lee Hysan family invested in developing Kai Tak into an international airport. (The Lee Hysan family, which started in the 1920s, started out as an opium trader and was one of the four major families in Hong Kong in the colonial era).
September 12, 1958
  • The expansion of the new runway was completed to replace the old runway, which became the runway 13/31 that was still used before the closure of Kai Tak Airport. In 1959, the runway lighting system was launched.
  • Kai Tak Airport's new passenger terminal and car park were completed and put into use. The control tower was also moved to the new passenger terminal, while the old passenger terminal was demolished in 1965.
  • The Royal Air Force no longer uses Kai Tak Airport, and Kai Tak has become an airport for all civilians.
  • Kai Tak Airport was expanded to 3,390 meters by reclamation. At that time, 31 airlines were operating in Hong Kong.
  • 1976
  • The freight station was officially opened.
  • The fourth phase of the expansion project of the airport passenger terminal building was completed. In the same year, Regal Airport Hotel opened, becoming the only hotel near Kai Tak Airport.
  • 1986
  • The annual passenger volume of Kai Tak Airport exceeded 10 million for the first time.
  • The expansion of the fifth phase of the airport passenger terminal building and the runway project were completed together, which can handle 18 million passengers per year, and the airport immigration control has also been fully computerized.

The End of Kai Tak Airport - Rose Garden Project

In 1990, the Hong Kong government launched the Hong Kong Airport Core Project, also known as the Rose Garden Project, to build a new airport at Chek Lap Kok, which is now the Hong Kong International Airport. On the evening of July 5, 1998, Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport finally ended its 73-year historical mission.

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