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Traffic at HKIA slows in August

Cargo throughput and air traffic movements at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) declined 3.9% and 0.5%, respectively, from August 2007, to 311,000 tonnes and 25,430. Passenger volumes also declined 5.3% in August 2008, to 4.2mn.

Cargo exports and imports contracted, despite growth in transshipments to and from North America and the Chinese Mainland. “High fuel prices, rising inflationary pressures and global financial volatility exert escalating pressure on the aviation industry worldwide. These factors, as well as the tightening of Mainland visa applications due to the Olympics,contributed to lower passenger and cargo figures in August,” said Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO of Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Hui said the Airport Authority remains committed to working with business partners to equip the airport for long-term growth. He cited the expansion of DHL’s CentralAsia Hub with a total investment of US$210mn completed this month. Cathay Pacific Airways held the groundbreaking of the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal on September 4th at HKIA to makr the start of ?construction of their new cargo terminal. “We are also in the midst of a HK$4.5bn terminal and airfield improvement program that will give us the capacity and facilities to take advantage of new opportunities,” Hui added. Meanwhile, HKIA is in the process of updating its master plan for 2030, which includes studies on environmental and technical feasibilities for a third runway at the airport.

For the first eight months of 2008, passenger volume, cargo traffic and aircraft movements rose by 4.7%, 4.5% and 3.6% over the same period last year, to 33.0mn, 2.5mn tonnes and 201,170, respectively. HKIA saw growth for the 12 months ended 31 August 2008, with passenger and cargo throughput increasing 6.0% and 5.2% from 2007, to 49.3mn and 3.8mn tonnes, respectively. Air traffic movements rose 4.3%, to 302,340.