Hong Kong airport continues to suffer trade war fall-out

Hong Kong
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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) saw cargo throughput drop 11.5 per cent year-on-year to 382,000 tonnes in August on the back on of the ongoing US-China trade war.

Transhipments and imports declined by 19 and 15 per cent year-on-year, respectively, according to figures published by Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA). The figures for Southeast Asia and Mainland China decreased most significantly among key trading regions.

Over the first eight months of the year, HKIA handled 3.08 million tonnes of cargo, down 7.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

On a 12-month rolling basis, cargo throughput recorded 4.9 million tonnes, a decrease of 5.3 per cent year on year.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group has also been hard hit by the trade war with combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for August 2019 showing a 14 per cent decline in cargo and mail volumes for the month to 161,394 tonnes compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 7.5 percentage points to 60.9 per cent.

In a customer update the carrier also sought to assuage frayed nerves after what has been a tumultuous month for the carrier and also pointed to possible signs of a peak season formation.

During the month, airport and flight operations were disrupted by democracy protesters who shut down the airport on two separate days, crippling passenger operations which has some impact on belly cargo, but leaving freighters operating as per normal.

In August the airport handled 6.0 million passengers and 35,655 air traffic movements, representing year-on-year declines of 12.4 and 3.5 per cent.

C K Ng, executive director, Airport Operations of the AA says: “In the past few months, there have been huge challenges to airport operations at times. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the airport community, we managed to maintain normal operations and minimise impact on travellers. I would like to express my gratitude to all airport staff who continue to perform their duties with admirable professionalism and dedication.”

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