HONG KONG. Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) reported a +1.7% increase in passenger throughput in 2008 compared to 2007, reaching 48.6 million passengers. Air traffic movements rose by +2.0% to 301,285.

Passenger traffic maintained steady growth in the first seven months of 2008, registering a +6% rise over same period in 2007. However, it saw a -4% drop over the last five months of 2008, compared to a year earlier.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) said this was partly due to the tightening of Mainland visa applications for foreign tourists and enhanced security requirements for the Beijing Olympics.

“But more importantly,” it added, “the financial tsunami and subsequent economic downturn have caused companies to cut costs by curbing business trips and holidaymakers to reduce travel amid rising uncertainties”.

December passenger traffic fell -5.3% year on year, to 4.0 million, with routes to and from Southeast Asia, Taiwan, the Chinese mainland and North America recording the biggest drops. Air traffic movements also declined by -3.3% over December 2007, to 24,775.

AAHK Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hui Hon-chung said: “2008 was very tough for the aviation industry, with skyrocketing oil prices in the first half of the year followed by the financial tsunami and the ensuing weakening demand for travel and air cargo services in the second half. The foreseeable future in 2009 will remain challenging, as the full effects of the recession are felt here in Hong Kong and across the globe.

“However, we hope to see the economy gradually stabilise in the latter part of 2009. While the near-term uncertainties will continue to pose challenges, we remain confident over the long-term traffic performance of HKIA. And we are as committed as ever to maintaining Hong Kong’s status as a regional and international aviation centre, serving the overall economic development of Hong Kong and Mainland China.

“We will continue to work closely with our business partners to enhance services at HKIA with a view to better meeting the changing needs of passengers and logistics providers,” Hui added.

Some major expansion and improvement projects currently underway are scheduled to be completed in 2009. These include the North Satellite Concourse, the permanent SkyPier ferry terminal and the Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility. The study for HKIA Master Plan 2030 began last year and will be completed in mid-2009, after which it will be released following approval by the AAHK Board.

In addition, the airport authority said it would “continue to render its full support to government-led infrastructural projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, and the feasibility study for the HKIA-Shenzhen Airport Rail Link. All of these initiatives will enhance HKIA’s local and cross-boundary accessibility, hence bringing busier passenger and cargo flow to Hong Kong and strengthening HKIA’s competitiveness in the long run.”



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