Hong Kong airport sees decline in pax traffic in 2019

Passenger figures to and from Mainland China and Southeast Asia experienced the most significant decreases during December.

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(PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

The Airport Authority of Hong Kong said Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 71.5 million passengers and 419,730 flight movements in 2019, which translates into a decline of 4.2 percent in passenger volume and a 1.9 percent decline in flight movements compared to 2018. Total cargo throughput declined 6.1 percent year-on-year to 4.8 million tonnes.

HKIA registered 33,990 flight movements in December 2019, an 8.4 percent year-on-year decrease. Passenger volume declined 12.5 percent to 5.7 million while cargo throughput decreased slightly by 1 percent to 443,000 tonnes compared to December 2018.

Passenger volume continued to be affected by weak visitor traffic in December 2019. Passenger figures to and from Mainland China and Southeast Asia experienced the most significant decreases during the month. However, transfer/transit traffic and Hong Kong resident travel registered strong year-on-year growth of 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively, the authority reported.

Exports saw a 3 percent year-on-year increase in December 2019 while imports and trans-shipments both remained weak. Among key trading regions, cargo exported to Europe, India and Japan contributed the most growth.

Vivian Cheung, executive director of airport operations for the authority said 2019 was a “challenging year in 2019”. The challenges came in the form of anti-government, pro-democracy protests that continue to this day and which in August 2019 shut down the airport for two consecutive days.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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