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Singapore April Passenger Traffic Flat, Cargo Down

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Passenger movements at Singapore's Changi Airport rose just 0.8 percent in April from a year ago in a sign that the boom in Asian air travel is losing steam.

Changi said on Monday it handled 4.24 million passengers last month even as the number of flights passing through the Southeast Asian city-state increased by 4.3 percent from a year ago. The 0.8 percent rise was the smallest since August 2009.

For the first four months of 2013, Changi handled 17.3 million passengers, a rise of 4.8 percent over the same period last year.

"After three years of double-digit increases from 2010 to 2012, traffic growth at Changi Airport has eased in recent months and continued downside risks are expected," the Singapore airport operator said in a statement.

Passenger traffic to Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East grew in April from a year ago, while traffic to and from Africa and Europe fell, Changi added.

Changi, the base for several carriers including Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways and Qantas unit JetStar Asia, said the slower rise in April passenger traffic was partly due to the Good Friday holiday falling in March this year.

As for air cargo, Changi said it moved 1.8 percent less cargo in April from a year ago.

Changi was the world's eighth busiest airport for international freight based on data for the 12 months to January 2013, according to Airports Council International, behind Asian rivals in Hong Kong, Incheon, Shanghai and Tokyo.

For international passengers, Hong Kong, at number four, is the only Asian city ranked above Singapore, which handled just under 50 million people in the 12 months to January.

(Reuters)