New data released Sunday (15 March) by Hong Kong’s Airport Authority shows passenger traffic at Hong Kong International Airport in February fell by 68 percent to 1.9 million and flight movements fell by 44.5 percent to 18,005 compared to a year ago. Cargo throughput dropped 8.9 percent compared to the same month last year, to 251,000 tonnes. The data for February is the first full month of global aviation capacity cuts due to the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 150,000 and killed 5,833 people, according to the virus tracking website at Johns Hopkins University.
For the first two months of the year, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 7.6 million passengers and 51,215 flight movements, representing year-on-year decreases of 38.5 percent and 25.7 percent, respectively. Cargo throughput fell 9.8 percent to 611,000 tonnes compared to the same period last year.
The combined decline of passenger volume in January and February was mainly caused by the 63 percent year-on-year decline in visitor traffic. During the period, passenger traffic to and from Mainland China and Southeast Asia recorded the most significant decreases. The authority said it expects to see a continued drop in traffic figures in March as airlines have suspended more flights, and authorities in different markets continue to implement immigration restrictions and quarantine measures.
With the impact of epidemic and the late resumption of mainland China factories production, cargo traffic remained weak in first two months of the year. Decreases of 14 percent and 11 percent were recorded in trans-shipments and exports, respectively. Among the key trading regions, traffic to and from North America and Europe decreased most significantly in the period.
Steven Yiu, deputy director for service delivery of the authority, said his organisation has stepped up cleaning and disinfection efforts in the terminal and passenger facilities while additional alcohol hand sanitisers are provided at all major passageways in the terminal.