The Hong Kong Observatory announces today (20 September 2005) that the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation will co-sponsor an international seminar on the quality management in the provision of meteorological services for aviation, to be held in Hong Kong, 22 - 25 November this year. Managers of aviation weather services from about 40 countries in the Asia Pacific region are expected to participate in the seminar. The hosting of this seminar in Hong Kong demonstrates the prominence of the Observatory's aviation weather service in the international meteorological and aviation community. During the seminar, the Observatory will present the experience in running its aviation weather services, in particular, in raising the service quality.
As the result of years of dedication to service improvement, the Observatory is now at the forefront of the world in aviation weather service. The head of the Observatory Airport Meteorological Office, Ms Sharon Lau, Senior Scientific Officer is a member of the Management Group of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology of the WMO. Ms Lau has just returned from France, where she attended an international symposium on value-addition for aviation weather service earlier this month. At the seminar, Ms Lau presented the Observatory's recent progress in windshear alerting service at the Hong Kong International Airport (photo 1). Members of the aviation community at the seminar were much impressed and regarded the Observatory's work as a significant achievement in windshear alerting.
The Observatory was among the first few organisations in the world to be awarded with the ISO 9001 quality management certificate in the provision of aviation weather service in 2002. To ensure the standard of its aviation weather service, the Observatory conducts regular internal audits (photo 2) and also has its operations audited by ISO 9001 certification bodies. Following a 3-year re-certification cycle, its aviation weather service will be examined by a certification body tomorrow (21 September 2005).
Prior to the coming quality management seminar in Hong Kong, the Observatory has already organised two international training workshops on aviation weather service for the WMO. In November 2004 and July this year, 19 meteorologists from around the world attended the training workshops in Hong Kong. They were very impressed by the achievements of the Observatory in the provision of aviation weather service. Mr Sospeter Muiruri, a participant from Kenya, said he had benefited considerably from the Observatory's experience in the provision of aviation weather services. "I am extremely impressed with the application of advanced technology by the Observatory, in particular the development of the windshear alerting system", he said.
The high standard of the Observatory's service, particularly in windshear alerting in the Hong Kong International Airport, has been widely recognized in the international aviation community for years. The Observatory has contributed invited articles to the authoritative International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Journal and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Bulletin in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Experts from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, and aviation weather service providers in Japan, Korea and Thailand had been sent to visit the Observatory to look at the facilities and operations of its aviation weather service (photo 3).
Pilots who are the primary users of the aviation weather service hold the Observatory's service in high regard, in particular its windshear alerting. Captain Brian Greeves of International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) said, "I have worked with the Observatory for over 10 years and have a great deal of respect for them, both as meteorologists and as people intent on providing the best service for the airport users. IFALPA, which represents over 100,000 pilots worldwide, is proud of its close association with the Observatory and the development of the Windshear and Turbulence Warning System". Captain Greeves is currently representing IFALPA in the Low-Level Windshear and Turbulence Study Group of ICAO. He also contributed in the development of the Observatory's Windshear and Turbulence Warning System of the Hong Kong International Airport. With his cooperation, the Observatory and IFALPA jointly produced the world's first introductory book on windshear and turbulence specifically for pilots in 2002. The cooperation indeed demonstrated the pilots' recognition of the Observatory's windshear alerting service.
The Observatory's online Aviation Meteorological Information Service (AMIDS) is also much appreciated by airline users. Numerous compliments have been received. "Your efforts on improving the AMIDS and relevant services for Hong Kong's aviation community are much appreciated." Mr Morgan Ng of Cathay Pacific said.
Embracing science and professionalism, the Observatory has been relentless in pursuing the refinement of its service. Ms Sharon Lau said, "The Observatory staff is pleased to see the Observatory's service being appreciated and complimented by the aviation user community. We are proud to be able to contribute towards Hong Kong's quest for a leading position in the aviation weather service in the world."
Photo 1: Ms Sharon Lau presenting the work in windshear alerting in Hong Kong International Airport at an international symposium in France in early September 2005
Photo 2: Observatory's internal service quality auditor inspecting the operations of the Airport Meteorological Office
Photo 3: Two experts from the Japan Meteorological Agency Mr Kenji Akaeda and Mr Masahi Kunitsugu visited the Observatory's Airport Meteorological Office in April 2005 and studied the application of LIDAR in windshear alerting