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Increases in cargo, passenger throughput at HKIA for March

Cargo throughput at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for March 2010 surged 29.5% to 347,000 tonnes year-on-year, reflecting continued recovery in the aviation sector. Air traffic movements also increased by 2.5% over last March to 24,370.

On the cargo side, imports, exports and transhipments saw year-on-year growth of 31%, 39% and 10% respectively. Nearly all of Hong Kong’s major trading markets showed double-digit growth last month. North America and Europe, in particular, contributed significantly to export growth. Visitor and Hong Kong resident numbers for March showed year-on-year increases of 11.1% and 9.4% respectively, with traffic on routes to/ from South East Asia, Mainland and Japan performing particularly well.

“While all three air traffic categories continued to show gains in March, cargo throughput—which is 29.5% higher than the same period in 2009 and 4% higher than 2008—performed particularly well as a result of continuing recovery in the global economy as well as trade,” said Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO of Airport Authority Hong Kong.

In the first quarter of 2010, HKIA handled 12 million passengers, 905,000 tonnes of cargo and 70,100 aircraft movements, representing yearly increases of 6.7%, 34% and 1.2% respectively. This was the first time since the financial tsunami in 2008 that all three traffic figures recorded positive growth in the same quarter.

Hui added, “We are encouraged by the strong figures in the first quarter and are optimistic that air traffic will soon return to pre-crisis levels if the existing trends continue. To meet the growing demand for air services, handling capacity of HKIA’s two runways has been raised from 58 to 59 movements per hour as planned for the summer operating season, effective from the end of March. According to the plan announced by the Civil Aviation Department, the hourly movement capacity of the two-runway system at HKIA will be further increased in phases over the coming years, reaching 68 movements per hour by 2015.”

On a rolling 12-month basis, the airport handled 3.6 million tonnes of cargo, up 4.5% over the same period the previous year, whereas passenger volume and aircraft movements slid 1.7% and 5.4% respectively, to 47 million and 280,325.