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Traffic volumes at HKIA continue to contract

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 3.6 million passenger trips and 259,000 tonnes of cargo in May, representing decreases of 12.7% and 17.6% from the same period of last year respectively. Air traffic movements also dropped 9.1% to 23,435.

The double-digit drop in passenger volume was across the board with all traffic types, but it was mainly due to decreasing visitor traffic, which fell more than 20% in May as compared to the same period last year. Markets experiencing pronounced drops were South East Asia, the Mainland, North America, Taiwan and Japan. On the cargo side, the continuing shrinking markets of the US and Europe accounted for May’s weak export figure, which experienced a more than 20% year-on-year decline. During the same period, imports declined 15% while transshipment traffic dropped 9%.

"In May, both air traffic movements and passenger throughput recorded significant drops, more than the average declines of 5.9% and 4.3%, respectively, for the first four months of 2009,” said Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong.“The negative performance reflected largely the impact of continuing global recession and the new but serious impact of Influenza A(H1N1) virus, further weakening the aviation market and resulting in airlines reducing flight frequencies. This prevailing trend in passenger traffic and air traffic movements is expected to continue and will likely further deteriorate in June.”

The number of passenger trips and cargo tonnage in the first five months of 2009 fell 6% and 21.1% over the same period last year, to 19.1 million and 1.2 million respectively. Air traffic movements slid 6.6% to 116,795.

For the 12 months between June 2008 and May 2009, HKIA served a total of 47.4 million passengers, 3.3 million tonnes of cargo and 292,940 aircraft movements. These represented year-on-year decreases of 3.8%, 14.1% and 2.8%, respectively.