Virtual reality and solar cars are just some of the advanced technologies being employed at the Simulated Airport Operations Centre. Run by the Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), the centre, which opened last year, prepares trainees for a variety of aviation roles as the sector grows and evolves.
Given the economic significance of the industry for Hong Kong, the Chamber’s Retail & Tourism and Manpower Committees jointly organised a visit to the IVE Simulated Airport Operations Centre on 9 March.
Frank Lee, Chairman of the Retail & Tourism Committee, led the delegation of 25 members. The group met with Deanna To, Principal, and Peter Tang, Vice-Principal, at IVE (Tsing Yi), who provided an overview of the sector in Hong Kong and explained how IVE is training the next generation of professionals.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is the world’s busiest air cargo gateway and one of the busiest passenger airports. In 2017, its total cargo and airmail throughput exceeded 5 million tonnes for the first time, and it served around 73 million passengers.
Members raised concerns about growing competition from nearby airports such as Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou. In response, Bevan Tsang, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering, pointed out that Hong Kong’s location – within five hours of flying time of half the world’s population – gave it a unique geographical advantage. However, he added, HKIA still needed to constantly renew and upgrade its capabilities to retain its leading position.
To ensure that the airport has the skilled staff to meet the growing demand, IVE and the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy jointly developed an education programme for 60 students, which began in 2017.
The programme is also tailored to the HKIA Master Plan 2030, which aims to prepare the airport for continued growth in air traffic, and includes the addition of a third runway. The airport is expected to directly employ 141,000 people by 2030 – more than double the current figure.
During their visit, members had the opportunity to try out the centre’s flight simulator and experience the latest virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies in the VR/AR Learning Zone.
They were also introduced to the SOPHIE series of solar cars developed by IVE students. Tang thanked the Chamber for its ATA Carnet services, which reduce customs clearance time for the solar car team when sending components abroad for overseas campaigns.
To view more photos from the visit, visit the Chamber’s website or follow this link.