Seaplanes began using Victoria Harbour in Mar 1911. Dr Ho-Kai and Mr Au Tak started an ill-fated building scheme. The adjacent land was given to the HK Government which built and named the airport after them. It opened as RAF Kai Tak in 1927 and a concrete slipway was added in 1928. The control tower and first hangar were built in 1935 and commercial flights began in Mar 1936. The Japanese extended the facilities between 1943 and 1945.
From Sep 1945, its was used by the Royal Navy
as shore base HMS Nabcatcher until Aug 1946. On 1 May 1946 it came under the HK Civil Aviation Department, although the RAF base remained. Cathay Pacific started its first flights with a DC-3 in Sep 1946. On 1 Apr 1947 it was recommissioned as HMS Flycatcher. The modernisation plan was announced in 1954 and in 1958 the famous 13/31 runway of 2529m, extending out into Kowloon Bay was built. It was extended to 3390m in 1975 and the cargo terminal opened a year later. Further improvements took place between 1984 and 1988.
Expansion of the cargo facilities and aircraft parking on the East and South Aprons followed. The city of Hong Kong had expanded too and it was clear an alternate site was required. The last passenger flight took off on the night of 5/6 Jul 1998 for London (Heathrow) and operations were moved to the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, WNW of Hong Kong on Lantau Island. The 413 hectare site of Kai Tak had to be de-contaminated for 2 years and has since been re-developed for housing, office space and leisure and the Airport of the Nine Dragons was no more.