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AAHK extends fees reduction to March 2010

The Board of the Airport Authority (AA) has announced the extension of the 10% reduction in landing and parking charges at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for three months to 31 March 2010. The HKAA said such an extension, amounting to additional savings of up to HK$56 million, will give airlines further relief against possible uncertainty on their paths to recovery.

The reduction was originally due to expire at the end of 2009. It is part of a HK$450 million relief package launched by the AA in April this year to assist aviation business partners whose business has been adversely affected by the global economic downturn. Apart from the 10% reduction in the landing and parking charges, the relief package also offers an interest-free payment deferral for premises rented at HKIA for up to one year till end of March 2010.

Cargo throughput at HKIA has continued to improve, rising to 344,000 tonnes in November, 16.4% more than November 2008. Passenger volume and aircraft movements reached 3.8 million and 23,515 respectively during the month, representing corresponding year-on-year declines of 0.4% and 5.2%.

Both exports and imports continued to improve in November, posting year-on-year growth of 23% and 21% respectively, although compared with a low base from November 2008. Transshipments saw a 6% contraction, with traffic to and from Europe, Taiwan and Australasia recording double-digit declines. Tight cargo capacity out of Hong Kong has made low-yield transshipments via Hong Kong a lower priority for airlines.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO ofAAHK, said he was encouraged by the improvement in air traffic. “While the 16.4% growth in cargo tonnage is certainly encouraging compared to the 1.3% year-on-year increase seen in October, the smaller decreases in passenger traffic and aircraft movements also indicate progress,” Mr Hui explained. “Stronger demand for air travel and better market sentiment are driving airlines to reinstate their previously suspended capacity and routes.

“We have also seen new airlines launching new services and routes to Hong Kong, such as Air Pacific in early December following the signing of the Air Services Agreement between the Hong Kong SAR and Fiji,” Hui added. HKIA handled three million tonnes of cargo between January and November this year, down10.8% respectively from the same period last year. Air traffic movements dropped 7.6% over the same period to 255,280.

New concourse

The North Satellite Concourse at HKIA opened December 17, to serve more than 5 million passengers a year. The Airport Authority has invested more than $1 billion into the structure, which will ensure top service for the growing number of passengers flying on smaller aircraft.

Lying to the north of Terminal 1, the 20,000 sqm concourse is a two-storey facility equipped with 10 frontal stands for narrow-bodied aircraft. Its waiting area houses 10 retail and two catering outlets. Shuttle buses between the concourse and Terminal 1 will run every four minutes.