Monday, November 17, 2008

Traffic at HK airport slows

Nov 17, 2008 AFP

HONG KONG - HONG Kong airport saw a fall in passengers in October, while cargo volume plummeted due to a slowdown in business and trade activity amid the global economic crisis, officials said on Monday.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA) released figures showing 4.07 million passengers used Chek Lap Kok airport in October, down 1.4 per cent from the 4.12 million recorded during the same month last year.

There was, however, a one per cent increase in the number of flights.

The HKAA also said the amount of cargo handled was 9.2 per cent down year on year to 320,000 tonnes.

HKAA chief executive officer Stanley Hui Hon-chung said: 'The global financial turmoil is biting deeper into world economies while business and trade activities are appreciably slowing down.'

'These conditions have contributed to the continuous decline in passenger and cargo traffic that began in August.' He said aircraft movements in November and December are expected to see marginal increases, but cargo traffic will likely fall.

The cargo business has been hard hit as the demand for Asian or mainland Chinese products has dwindled substantially in the ailing economies of major trading partners like the US and Europe, he said.

Air traffic figures for the first 10 months of this year recorded moderate growth over the same period in 2007. Passenger volume rose 3.2 per cent to 40.7 million, while cargo volume grew 1.6 per cent to 3.1 million tonnes.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific issued a profit warning earlier this month on the back of a slowdown in passenger demand and losses on fuel hedging contracts. -- AFP

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