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Hong Kong's Air Traffic Continues Decline in March 2009

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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) managed a total of 3.9 million passengers and 268,000 tonnes of cargo in March 2009, representing decreases of 7.9% and 19.8% respectively from the corresponding month in 2008. Year-on-year, air traffic movements contracted by 7.5% to 23,805.

Passenger traffic of Hong Kong residents experienced a yearly decline of 15% during this month, mainly due to the busy outbound travel period around the Easter Holidays falling in April this year as opposed to March in 2008. Visitor traffic to and from Hong Kong also dropped 9% as economic downturn continued to affect business and leisure travel. Long-haul markets such as North America and Europe, as well as regional markets including North Asia and Taiwan, were hit hardest.

The majority of HKIA's major markets continued to record double-digit decreases for cargo throughput during March, resulting in the airport's export tonnage reducing by approximately 25% as key markets such as North America, Southeast Asia and Taiwan registered a significant yearly decline of over 30%. Imports also dropped around 17% while transshipments fell around 9% year-on-year.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong said, "While the duration or full impact of the current recession remains to be seen, we are confident that its impact on traffic at HKIA will gradually lessen and the long-term prospect of HKIA stays positive. We will keep investing in our software and hardware to ensure HKIA will be in a position to meet demand when the market eventually recovers, and has enough capacity to meet long-term aviation demand and provides a level of service that will continue to set global standard."

Cumulative figures for the first three months recorded a 7.1% reduction in passenger numbers to 11.3 million. Cargo volume was also down 22.8% to 676,000 tonnes, while air traffic movements slid 6.6% to 69,285.

For the twelve-month period between April 2008 and March 2009, HKIA handled a total of 47.7 million passengers, 3.4 million tonnes of cargo and 296,230 flight movements, which represented yearly decreases of 2.5%, 10% and 1.1% respectively.

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