Hong Kong’s June air traffic falls as COVID-19 continues to silence international flights

Passenger traffic down 99% and cargo declines too

Hong Kong International Airport. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

The Airport Authority of Hong Kong this week released traffic figures for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for June 2020 that showed the airport was still suffering at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic and its shutdown of international aviation. The airport recorded year-on-year decreases in passengers and flight movements of 99.1 percent and 71.8 percent to 59,000 and 9,945, respectively. Cargo throughput saw a decrease of 7.7 percent to 357,000 tonnes compared to the same month last year.

The drop in cargo throughput was mainly attributed to the decline in transhipments resulting from reduced belly capacity on passenger flights. Cargo throughput to and from Mainland China and Southeast Asia saw the most significant decreases in June. However, with demand for air cargo services remaining relatively strong, freighter movements increased 23.1 percent compared to the same month last year. Cargo exports recorded a year-on-year increase of 7 percent, with North American markets recording the most significant growth.

Airlines like Cathay Pacific have had to ground hundreds of planes and slash capacity as international travel has ground to a virtual halt. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Due to the continuation of entry restrictions for non-Hong Kong residents, visitor traffic decreased by more than 99 percent. The gradual resumption of transfer/transit services brought some transfer/transit passenger traffic to HKIA, yet demand was still weak and the transfer/transit traffic in June decreased by almost 100 percent year on year. Hong Kong resident travel decreased by 98 percent year on year.

Over the first half of the year, HKIA handled 8.3 million passengers and 94,120 flight movements, equalling year-on-year decreases of 78.1 percent and 55.8 percent, respectively. Cargo throughput saw a 10.2 percent drop to 2.1 million tonnes. On a 12-month rolling basis, passengers and flight movements decreased 44.5 percent and 29.9 percent to 42 million and 300,915, respectively. Cargo throughput fell 7.7 percent to 4.6 million tonnes.

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