Cross-boundary heliport development in Hong Kong


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Chuen Keung YU


Awarding Institution
Award date16 Feb 2009


The cross-boundary helicopter shuttle service between Hong Kong and Macau has experienced continued growth since its commencement in September 1990. Demand for the service will become increasingly acute as soon as flight paths between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region are available. With continuing demand for cross-boundary helicopter services, the existing cross-boundary heliport at the Hong Kong - Macau Ferry Terminal (HKMFT) will soon reach its designed capacity. To keep pace with the burgeoning helicopter service market, there is a definite need to formulate strategies and plans for the development of cross-boundary heliports in Hong Kong. The aim of this research is to develop a comprehensive, generic and practical implementation model for cross-boundary heliport development and apply it to the Hong Kong situation. There is so far scant literature available to cover the approach and implementation model for a heliport development project. This Thesis proposed the Heliport Development/Implementation Model, which was developed with reference to the literature reviews on infrastructure and airport development projects and verified by opinions of experts in the field of aviation and airport development. There are totally six essential modules in the proposed Model, namely the Heliport Capacity Determination, Heliport Site Selection, Heliport Facilities and Safety Management System (SMS) Design, Environmental Impact Assessment, Financial and Economic Analysis, and Modes of Heliport Development and Management, which could be integrated for the implementation. Through the implementation of the proposed Model to Hong Kong, development strategies and plans for cross-boundary heliports have been formulated. In summary, the short-term solution for heliport development in Hong Kong is to expand the existing heliport at the Inner Pier of the HKMFT by adding a new landing/take-off helipad. The Kai Tak Development Area and the Outer Pier of the HKMFT are identified as the sites suitable for the medium-term development and the long-term plan respectively. The heliport development project at the HKMFT is evaluated as viable from the environmental, financial and economic perspectives. Conceptual plans for the heliport design and a TQM-based SMS framework are proposed for the development plan, and a public-private partnership approach is recommended as the mode of heliport development and management in Hong Kong. The elements of innovation in this Thesis are on the development of systematic approaches in the heliport development process including the formulation of an implementation Model, the development of a systematic and practical approach for heliport capacity determination, the recommendation of a new structured approach for heliport site selection, and the formation of a TQM-based SMS for application in heliport environment. These aside, new and best practices in heliport development are proposed in other individual modules of the Model. The proposed Model is comprehensive and generic in its application. With a measure of caution in its implementation, the Model can be applied to the development of domestic heliports and other cross-boundary heliport development projects. Helicopter services have become increasing popular in Hong Kong and elsewhere. In light of this, there is a great demand for the provision of safe and efficient heliports to cope with the rising service. The proposed pioneering model as well as the innovative and new approaches, and best practices for heliport development presented in this Thesis will become a set of valuable reference material for future heliport development projects in Hong Kong and other places.

    Research areas

  • China, Hong Kong, Heliports