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Easter Gives Positive Boost to HKIA Passenger Numbers in April 2009

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Hong Kong International Airport recorded a mild growth of 4.1% in passenger traffic in April, representing 4.2 million. The growth was mainly stimulated by an increase in travel by local residents during the Easter holidays.

 Cargo throughput fell 19.8% to 257,000 tonnes and air traffic movements declined 3.7% to 24,090, in comparison to the corresponding month in 2008.

The mild passenger growth in April was primarily a result of the Easter holidays falling in April this year instead of March, as in 2008. Resident traffic therefore saw a 40% year-on-year increase in the month while the overall visitor traffic dropped by 9% amid the economic downturn, with markets like the US, Europe and Taiwan performing particularly weak.

The combined passenger total for March and April, which balanced out the seasonal impact of the Easter holidays, revealed a drop of 2% from the same period last year, representing 8.1 million passengers for the respective two-month period.

The contraction in cargo traffic was prominent in exports, recording a 27% year-on-year drop, in which cargo volumes to all major markets experienced a decline. Imports also shrank by 16% as compared to the same period in 2008, with cargo volumes from South East Asia and Japan decreasing the most.

Transshipment cargo dropped around 7% year-on-year during the month, while the corresponding figures for Taiwan and the Mainland experienced double-digit declines.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong said, "The aviation industry worldwide is still yet to show signs of recovery as the gloomy economic outlook continues to dampen travel desire among consumers. This uncertainty has been further aggravated by the recent outbreak of the influenza A (H1N1).

"Cargo throughput remains the hardest hit in comparison to passenger volume and aircraft movements, reflecting the continued weakening of global trade and consumption," Mr Hui added.

 He also revealed that while cargo volume has seen a consistent drop of about 20% over the last three months - which is considerably less than the nearly 30% decline in December 08 and January 09 - the performance remains worrying.

Over the past four months, passenger traffic fell 4.3% year-on-year to 15.5 million. Cargo throughput reduced 22% to 933,000 tonnes and air traffic movements dipped 5.9% to 93,360.

On a rolling twelve-month basis, HKIA handled 47.9 million passengers, 3.4 million tonnes of cargo and 295,290 flight movements, representing declines of 2.1%, 12.2% and 1.6% respectively.

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