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Traffic Volumes Continue Decline at Hong Kong Airport in February 2009

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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 3.4 million passenger trips and moved 198,000 tonnes of cargo in February 2009, representing decreases of 13.7% and 19.7% over the same month in 2008 respectively. Year-on-year, aircraft movements declined 10.5% to 21,235.

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

On the cargo front, most of HKIA's major markets continued to record double-digit decreases during the month. However, as manufacturing activities started to resume after the Chinese New Year holidays, the magnitude of the declines, particularly for North America, Mainland and Taiwan markets, was smaller compared to January.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority, 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, cargo throughput decreased 7.5% year-on-year to 3.5 million tonnes. While passenger volume dropped slightly by 1% to 48 million, air traffic movements rose marginally by 0.1%, to 298,190.

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