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SCED's speech at opening of International Conference on Aeronautical Meteorology (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the opening of the 14th Session of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organisation:

Secretary-General Mr (Michel) Jarraud, President Mr (Carr) McLeod, Director Dr Lee, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, it is my great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome.  

     Hong Kong is very privileged to be the host for this 14th Session of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organisation.  It is the first time that such a major aeronautical conference, held once every four years, is staged in Asia.  Your presence is a huge vote of confidence in Hong Kong's role as an important aviation hub and a premier destination for international conferences.  
     Since the first flight of the Wright Brothers, aviation weather service has become an inseparable part of the safe operations of aircraft.  Inclement weather conditions bring delays to air traffic or even hazards.  With the world increasingly connected by air services, quality aviation weather service is key in sustaining the continued development of international air traffic.

     Hong Kong is located at the heart of Asia.  We are within the reach of half of the world's population in five flying hours.  Today, the Hong Kong International Airport handles about 750 inbound and outbound flights everyday.  

     The Hong Kong Observatory is constantly alert and fully geared up to provide quality weather service to enhance the safe and smooth traffic of aviation.  Through innovation and engagement with relevant stakeholders, the Hong Kong Observatory has developed over the years some outstanding and advanced alert systems for our airport.  One example is the world's first windshear alert system based on light detection and ranging.  Another is an automatic device capable of issuing lightning warnings in a prompt manner. We are proud and happy in making contributions towards aviation safety, but will never be complacent as safety is a constant goal.  And we take our responsibilities as a member of the international community seriously.

     The conference today is dedicated to one very worthwhile cause, namely the betterment of the development of aeronautical meteorology.  With industry players and specialists coming from all over the world, the conference provides an excellent platform for ideas to be exchanged and experience shared. It also underscores the sustained efforts the commission has made for many years in fostering collaboration between meteorological authorities through the exchange of information, as well as joint efforts in research and development.  May I take this opportunity to commend the commission for the hard work and endeavours that it has put in the organisation of this conference.  I have no doubt that you will find participation in the conference a rewarding experience and that your concerted efforts will help take aviation weather services to new heights.

     As an Asia's world city, Hong Kong has much to offer for you to see, to enjoy and to experience.  I hope you can take some time out to go about and get some feel of the unique cosmopolitan culture of Hong Kong and the friendliness of our people.  
     With the Chinese New Year just round the corner, allow me to extend my best wishes, and this year being Year of the Tiger, may the New Year bring energy and good health and fortune to you and your families and I hope you have a very enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:55


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