Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has reported a
1.7% increase in passenger throughput and a 3.1% decline in cargo
traffic in 2008 as compared to 2007, reaching 48.6 million and 3.6
million tonnes, respectively. Air traffic movements for the year grew 2%
Passenger traffic maintained steady growth in
the first seven months of 2008, registering a 6% rise over the same
period in 2007. However, it saw a 4% drop over the last five
months of 2008 which was partly due to the tightening of Mainland
visa applications for foreign tourists following the enhanced
security requirements for the Beijing Olympics. But more
importantly, the global financial crisis and subsequent economic
downturn have caused companies to cut costs by curbing business
trips and holidaymakers to reduce travel amid rising
The global financial turmoil and the resultant
shrinkage in foreign trade also dealt a heavy blow to demand for
freight services, and air cargo was no exception. In December,
HKIA saw cargo throughput plunge by 28.2% to 243,000 tonnes - the
largest single-month drop since the airport's opening in 1998.
December's passenger traffic fell 5.3% year on
year, to 4 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.
Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer
of the Airport Authority (AA), 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."
Some expansion and improvement projects
currently underway at HKIA are scheduled to be completed this year. 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 AA Board.
In addition, the AA said it will 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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