HONG KONG. Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 3.4 million passengers in February, down a sharp -13.7% from the same month in 2008. Year-on-year, aircraft movements declined -10.5% to 21,235.

Both local resident and visitor traffic were weak during the month, said Airport Authority Hong Kong. The number of local travellers declined over -20% from February 2008, mainly because the Chinese New Year travel peak fell in January this year (the corresponding peak was in February last year). Visitor traffic, particularly from long-haul markets such as North America and Europe and regional markets such as North Asia and Taiwan, also reported double-digit decreases.

Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hui Hon-chung said: “Aggregate figures for January and February, which even out the seasonal impact of Chinese New Year, give a better account for the year-on-year comparison. The combined figures show that the airport has served a total of 7.4 million passengers, moved 408,000 tonnes of cargo and handled 45,480 aircraft movements during the first two months of 2009. These represent reductions of -6.7%, -24.7% and -6.2% respectively in comparison with the same period last year.

“Both February’s statistics and the combined figures for the last two months show that air traffic volumes continue to suffer from the global economic downturn. It is unlikely that this downward trend will reverse in the short term when the world’s major economies remain in recession. While decline in the total cargo volumes of January and February was less severe than the previous months, it is too early to suggest that the air cargo market has stabilised.”

On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger volume dropped slightly by -1.0% to 48 million, while air traffic movements rose marginally by +0.1%, to 298,190.



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