Despite the unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic, Hong Kong International Airport’s cargo throughput in the first month of the year grew 14.1 percent year on year to 409,000 tonnes.
The Lunar calendar may have a lot to do with the increase, as HKIA explained the year-on-year growth recorded was mainly due to a low base for comparison, given that last year’s Chinese New Year period was in January, when most factories in China were closed.
Cargo imports and exports at HKIA jumped 37 percent and 24 percent, respectively; however, trans-shipments dropped in the double digits due to a shortage of belly capacity on passenger flights. Overall, volumes to and from North America saw the most significant increase during the month, as freighter movements surged 37.2 percent compared to January of last year.
Over to the passenger side, the airport continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as passenger traffic and flight movements fell 98.8 percent and 65.8 percent year on year. During the month, passenger traffic for Hong Kong residents, visitors and transfer/transit passengers all went down compared to the same month last year.
On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger volume and flight movements fell by 95.5 percent and 66.7 percent, while cargo volume was down 5.1 percent from last year at 4.5 million tonnes.
On a lighter note, HKIA was named “Asia Pacific Airport of the Year” at the 7th Payload Asia Awards organised by Payload Asia for its standout performance in terms of amenities, passenger- and cargo-focused planning, and seamless movement within the airport.
Cissy Chan, executive director, commercial of the AA, commented, “We are honoured by the industry’s recognition of HKIA. This accolade serves as a testament to the professionalism of our airport cargo community in maintaining efficient and reliable cargo operations despite the unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic. HKIA stands ready to provide a seamless cold chain solution for delivering vaccines and pharmaceuticals efficiently, professionally and to the highest international standards.”