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Airport Authority offers relief package to business partners


The Board of the Airport Authority (AA) announced on April 27 that a relief package of HK$450 million to assist airlines and other operators whose business at the airport has been adversely affected by the global economic downturn. The relief package comprises $200 million worth of reductions in charges and $250 million interest-free, deferred payments, starting April 2009.Airlines operating at HKIA are being offered a 10% reduction in both landing and parking charges till the end of 2009, amounting to savings of about HK$200 million. Also, to alleviate cash flow issues during the recession, 50% of rental payments for airline lounges, office premises, counters and storage can be deferred for up to one year and repaid by interest-free installments from April 2010 onward. If all business partners apply to defer 50% of their rental payments, the total amount will reach approximately $250 million.

The HongKongInternational Airport (HKIA) managed a total of 3.9 million passengers and 268,000 tonnes of cargo in March 2009, representing decreases of 7.9% and 19.8% respectively from the corresponding month in 2008. Year-on-year, air traffic movements contracted by 7.5% to 23,805.

Passenger traffic of Hong Kong residents experienced a yearly decline of 15% during this month, mainly due to the busy outbound travel period around the Easter Holidays falling in April this year as opposed to March in 2008. Visitor traffic to and from Hong Kong also dropped 9% as economic downturn continued to affect business and leisure travel. Long-haul markets such as North America and Europe, as well as regional markets including North Asia and Taiwan, were hit hardest.

The majority of HKIA's major markets continued to record double-digit decreases for cargo throughput during March, resulting in the airport's export tonnage reducing by approximately 25% as key markets such as North America, Southeast Asia and Taiwan registered a significant yearly decline of over 30%. Imports also dropped around 17% while transshipments fell around 9% year-on-year.

Cumulative figures for the first three months recorded a 7.1% reduction in passenger number to 11.3 million. Cargo volume was also down 22.8% to 676,000 tonnes, while air traffic movements slid 6.6% to 69,285.

For the twelve-month period between April 2008 and March 2009, HKIA handled a total of 47.7 million passengers, 3.4 million tonnes of cargo and 296,230 flight movements, which represented yearly decreases of 2.5%, 10.0% and 1.1% respectively.