Hong Kong International Airport experienced a 5.9% rise in passenger traffic for October, although cargo volumes dropped 8.2% on the corresponding month a year ago.
The gateway handled 4.6 million passengers, 342,000 tonnes of freight and 28,545 aircraft movements (+5%) this October.
Stanley Hui Hon-chung, CEO of operator Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), admits that he is pleased with the "stable" increase in passenger and aircraft movements, and attributes the downturn in cargo traffic to tough economic times in Europe and the US and the floods in Thailand.
"While our cargo performance is consistent with the worldwide negative growth trend, I'm pleased to see passenger volume and aircraft movements continue to rise," says Hui.
"In view of the strong Chinese Mainland economy, particularly its growing aviation industry and surging inbound visitors this year, I am confident that our steady performance in passengers and aircraft movements will continue through the end of the year."
The growth in October's passenger numbers was mainly driven by visitor traffic, which registered a 7% increase over the same month last year. The upturn is consistent with the growth in visitor traffic to Hong Kong, which the Hong Kong Tourism Board forecasts will exceed 40 million this year. Passenger traffic to/from South East Asia performed particularly well.
The cargo decline in October was mainly attributed to the 8% year-on-year drop in exports. Imports and transshipments decreased by 8% and 10% respectively compared to October 2010. Europe, North America, Chinese Mainland and Taiwan all experienced double-digit year-on-year declines in overall cargo traffic.
During the first ten months of 2011, the airport handled 44.8 million passengers, representing cumulative growth of 5.8% over the same period last year. Aircraft movements also rose 9.7% in the same period, amounting to 276,575. On the cargo front, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) processed 3.3 million tonnes of cargo, down 4.4%.
On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger trips amounted to 53.4 million and aircraft movements totalled 331,065, representing cumulative year-on-year growth of 6.0% and 10.4% respectively. Cargo volume recorded 4 million tonnes, a decrease of 2.3%.