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Cargo Volume at HKIA Down 28.9% in January; Passenger Numbers Up 0.2%

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Hong Kong International Airport's passenger traffic figures for January 2009 show marginal growth, up 0.2% to 4 million from the same month in 2008. A 28.9% drop in cargo volume to 210,000 tonnes was recorded while air traffic movements declined 2% to 24,245.

The steep fall in cargo volume was a result of continuously shrinking international trade caused by the global economic downturn. Almost all major HKIA markets experienced a double-digit decline during the month.

While imports from Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia dropped most significantly, exports to Europe, North America and Taiwan showed the biggest decrease. Transshipments to and from Taiwan, the Chinese Mainland and Southeast Asia were also hit.

Although the number of visitors, particularly from long-haul markets like North America and Europe, saw a double-digit decline from the same period last year, overall passenger throughput still recorded a marginal increase. However, this marginal increase should be viewed in the context of the fact that Chinese New Year holidays occurred in January this year, and in February last year.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority, said, "The aviation industry is a reflection of the general economic situation and the declines we are experiencing in the aviation industry are largely consistent with what is happening with the global economy. As companies continue to keep a tight rein on their business activities and consumers on their spending, drops in air traffic figures covering passenger, cargo and aircraft movements will likely continue, with particularly notable declines on the cargo front.

"However, we remain confident in the long-term traffic performance of HKIA because the Mainland economy is relatively more stable and stronger than other economies worldwide. In addition, globalisation in normal market conditions will continue to fuel the growth of international trade and demand for aviation services."

From February 2008 to January 2009, the airport served a total of 48.6 million passengers and 300,740 flight movements, up 0.7% and 1.4% respectively from year-earlier figures. Over the same period, however, cargo volume declined 6% to 3.5 million tonnes.

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