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Significant growth in January air cargo

Air cargo volumes continued to rebound at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), which handled 301,000 tonnes of air cargo in January 2010, representing a strong increase of 43.3% over January 2009. Passenger throughput and air traffic movements reached 3.9 million and 23,460, representing declines of 1.6% and 3.2% respectively.

The slight drop of passenger traffic and air traffic movements were mainly attributed to the relatively higher base as a result of the Chinese New Year (CNY) travel peak last January. During last month, Hong Kong resident travel declined by approximately 9% year on year while visitor traffic grew about 2% with those from Southeast Asia and North Asia showing the highest increases. Transfer/ transit traffic registered a slight drop of approximately 1%.

On the cargo side, nearly all major HKIA markets showed a double-digit growth over the same period last year. The substantial growth was a result of imports and exports recording a respective yearly growth of 55% and 51% during the month. Meanwhile, transshipments also saw an overall growth of 14%.

"The aviation market continued to rebound during the first month of 2010, particularly on the cargo side amid improving economy and global trade activities. Whilst passenger volume and air traffic movements showed mild declines year on year due to timing difference of the CNY holidays, we believe January and February taken together will likely also show an encouraging growth trend over the same period last year,"? said Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO of the Airport Authority.

"Around 850 extra flights have been scheduled for the CNY period. We are also seeing an increasing number of passengers coming in from the Pearl River Delta via the high speed ferry services for flying out of HKIA. We estimate the newly-opened SkyPier ferry terminalwill handle over 7,000 passengers per day during the holiday period, up from the daily average of around 5,000. To cope with the expected surge in travellers at HKIA, we have stepped up automated people mover services, deployed more staff to assist passengers and arranged for extended operating hours for dining and catering outlets," Hui added.

On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger throughput was down by 5.2% to 46.1 million while cargo tonnage dropped 2.9% to 3.4 million tonnes. Air traffic movements also saw a year-on-year decline of 7.3% to 278,705.