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Speech by S for S at the opening of the International Aviation Security Conference 2009 (English only)
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     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, at the opening of the International Aviation Security Conference 2009 in Hong Kong today (March 3):

Mr Chau (Executive Director of AVSECO), Mr Chong (CEO of Certis-CISCO), Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi (Senior Vice President of Emirates), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am delighted to join you for the opening of the International Aviation Security Conference 2009.  A warm welcome to you all, and especially to those who have travelled long distances to be here.

     This conference offers a precious opportunity for the aviation community as well as government representatives to share their experience and views on aviation security development.  I am sure that there will be a lot of fruitful exchanges and sharing in the coming three days.

     The conference is particularly timely as we just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong International Airport last year.  During the last decade, the number of passengers using our airport has increased by around 70% to 48.6 million while air cargo roughly doubled to 3.6 million tons.  As an international aviation centre, Hong Kong diligently observes the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.  We have established a comprehensive legal framework, and maintain a very close working relationship with the aviation industry to jointly deal with aviation security matters.  

     The Hong Kong SAR Government attaches utmost importance to our responsibility for ensuring the safety of air travel and will continue to be an active participant in the international community in this regard.  The highest standard of services at the Hong Kong International Airport, including security processing, has been well recognised by international travellers.  According to the annual Skytrax survey, air travellers have voted the Hong Kong International Airport the best airport in the world for the seventh time in eight years.

     The outstanding performance is a result of concerted efforts by the Civil Aviation Department, the Airport Authority, AVSECO, the various law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong and our industry partners.  We will continue to keep up the good work to meet the changing demands and the rising challenges.  

     Nevertheless, it will never be enough if each country or city works individually.  Aviation security in general has taken on new dimensions since the 911 tragedy in the United States.  International co-operation and harmonisation of aviation security measures in a multilateral setting have become increasingly significant.  This conference indeed provides a valuable platform for us to share our strategies and brainstorm new measures to cope with the new era of changes.
  
     Many economies nowadays are facing severe downturn and shrinking trade.  The global financial turmoil is undoubtedly a heavy blow to the aviation industry.  With the drop in air traffic figures, it is not uncommon that companies have kept a tight rein on operating costs.  However, I am sure you would all agree that aviation security should never be compromised.  At the end of the day, enhanced security will pay off.  It will help prevent and minimise loss of life and property due to sabotage or any other acts of unlawful interference, and thereby facilitate business revival and economic development.

     I wish to congratulate AVSECO, Certis-CISCO and Emirates for jointly organising this conference and wish it every success.  The conference covers a wide range of important topics and we have here the participation of many experts and professionals in the industry.  I am confident that you will all find this conference fruitful and rewarding.  For participants joining us from different parts of the world, I also wish you an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:51

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