Hong Kong unrest cuts into passenger traffic


Declines in passenger traffic to and from Hong Kong hit double-digits in October, with the Airport Authority of Hong Kong saying Sunday (17 November) that passenger traffic fell 13 percent to 5.4 million passengers. The airport, which is one of the largest cargo handlers in Asia, also saw a 5.5 percent decline in cargo throughput during the month. “Passenger volume in October continued to be suppressed by weak visitor traffic, with passengers to and from the mainland and Southeast Asia experiencing the most significant decreases,” the authority said, adding that cargo exports saw improved momentum, recording just a 2.6 percent decline year-on-year with cargo exported to Japan and Europe outperforming other regions.

Over the first 10 months of the year, HKIA handled 60.8 million passengers and 353,200 flight movements, representing year-on-year decreases of 2.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Cargo throughput fell 7 percent to 3.9 million tonnes compared to the same period last year. On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger volume and flight movements recorded declines of 1.6 percent and 0.2 percent to 73.3 million and 425,755, respectively.

Hong Kong continues to suffer from nearly six months of pro-democracy, anti-government protests that have seen at least three people shot by police, a 70-year-old man killed by protesters and ongoing violence that have shut down parts of the city with no end in sight. The news agency Reuters reported that several Asian airlines have also cut the number of flights to and from Hong Kong. Quoting Routes Online, Reuters said that Garuda Indonesia, India’s SpiceJet, Malaysia’s AirAsia Group, and the Philippines’ PAL Holdings and Cebu Air had all cut or cancelled flights to Hong Kong.

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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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