HK October Air Cargo Falls 8.2 Percent

November 21, 2011

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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), the world's busiest air cargo hub, on Sunday posted a seventh-straight monthly decrease in air cargo volume in October, tracking a global trend with trade declining in the United States and Europe.

Air cargo volume totalled 342,000 tonnes, dipping 8.2 percent in October year on year, but the airport handled 4.6 million passenger trips, or a 5.9 percent increase, and recorded 5 percent more aircraft movements.

"While HKIA's cargo performance is consistent with the worldwide negative growth trend, I'm pleased to see passenger volume and aircraft movements continue to rise," Stanley Hui, HKIA's chief executive, said in a statement.

In the first 10 months of 2011, the Hong Kong airport moved 3.3 million tonnes, down 4.4 percent over the same period last year. On a rolling 12-month basis, cargo volume totalled 4 million tonnes, a decrease of 2.3 percent.

Cathay Pacific Airways, the world's largest cargo carrier, last week posted October cargo volumes that dipped 17.5 percent on the year due to continued weak demand in Hong Kong and China.

As Hong Kong's dominant airline, its cargo flow is a good indicator of export growth in Hong Kong and China. On November 16 it posted its most sluggish expansion in eight months.

But Cathay Pacific expects its cargo volume will return to growth in 2012 as it adds new services. Capacity is seen growing 15 to 18 percent next year, its cargo director said on Thursday.

(Reuters)