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Hong Kong airport handles less traffic

HONG Kong International Airport handled 3.4 million passenger trips and moved 198,000 tons of cargo in February, representing drops of 13.7 percent and 19.7 percent respectively from a year earlier.

Aircraft movements fell 10.5 percent to 21,235 year on year, said the airport in a press release yesterday.

Both local resident and visitor traffic was weak during the month. The number of local travelers declined over 20 percent from February 2008, mainly because the Lunar New Year travel peak fell in January this year whereas the corresponding peak was in February last year. Visitor traffic also reported double-digit falls.

On the cargo front, most of the airport's major markets continued to record double-digit decreases during the month. However, as manufacturing activities started to resume after the Lunar New Year holiday, the magnitude of the declines was smaller compared to January.

"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,'' Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO of the airport authority, said. ''It is unlikely this downward trend will reverse in the short term when the world's major economies remain in recession."

He said while ''decline in the total cargo volumes of January and February was less severe than the previous months, it is too early to suggest the air cargo market has stabilized."

On a rolling 12-month basis, cargo handled fell 7.5 percent year on year to 3.5 million tons while passenger volume was down by 1.0 percent to 48 million and air traffic movements rose by 0.1 percent, to 298,190.


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