Hong Kong extends aid to airport community; Cargo traffic extends gains

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Construction at Hong Kong International Airport. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

Airport Authority Hong Kong announced it will continue to offer its relief package to the end of November 2021, in view of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry. Various fee waiver or concession policies supporting the industry will continue through to November 2021, including full waiver of parking charges for idle passenger aircraft and airbridge fees; reduction of passenger aircraft landing charges; fees reduction related to ramp handling, maintenance and airside vehicles; as well as rental reduction for terminal tenants covering lounges and offices; fees waiver for terminal licensees including ancillary passenger services, commercial services counters and cross-border transport operators; and concessions on fees for aviation support services such as into-plane fuelling, aircraft maintenance and inflight catering services.

The continuing relief package also includes the rental relief for retail and catering tenants. Most of the shops and restaurants in the terminal have suspended business and their rental is waived. The base rent is also waived for those that remain open to provide essential services.

HKIA records double-digit increase in cargo

Cathay and other airlines are relying on cargo shipments to stay alive. (PHOTO: Cathay Pacific)

The Airport Authority Hong Kong also released the traffic figures for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for September 2021. During the month, cargo throughput increased 17.9 percent to 455,000 tonnes, compared to the same month last year. Strong cargo demand continued in September 2021, with both imports and exports continuing to register double-digit year-on-year growth. Overall cargo to and from North America and Southeast Asia experienced the most significant increases during the month. Meanwhile, the airport handled 227,000 passengers and 13,920 flight movements, surging by 127.4 percent and 32 percent, respectively, from a low base during the same month last year.

HKIA handled a daily average of more than 7,000 passengers during the month, amounting to around 5 percent of the pre-pandemic level during the same month in 2019. In September 2021, outbound transfer passengers from Mainland China to Europe and North America recorded significant increases. Over the first nine months of the year, cargo throughput saw 13.1 percent growth to 3.6 million tonnes. Passenger throughput and flight movements dropped 89 percent and 18.6 percent to 941,000 passengers and 101,425, respectively. On a 12-month rolling basis, HKIA handled 1.2 million passengers and 137,520 flight movements, recording year-on-year declines of 95.2 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Cargo throughput rose 8.3 percent to 4.9 million tonnes.

To continuously enhance operational excellence of air cargo handling at HKIA, the AA launched the HKIA Cargo Data Platform (the Platform). Equipped with the latest smart technologies, the Platform forms a secured trusted network that connects key stakeholders along the supply chain – such as cargo terminal operators, freight forwarders, truckers and screening facility operators. This blockchain-enabled community based platform enhances shipment traceability, unifies communication and information exchange, synchronises and standardises process workflow and enables paperless working environment. The Platform supports International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) One Record standard as aligned to the digital future of the industry on a global perspective.

Cissy Chan, executive director for commercial at the Airport Authority said, “As a smart airport, the AA took an innovative step to develop a common data platform to drive the community-wide digitalisation collaboration. The successful launch of the Platform signifies a more cohesive industry ecosystem which aims to create differentiating benefits for the Hong Kong air cargo community, thereby further consolidating HKIA’s status as a leading international cargo hub.”

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