Double-digit Growth in April’s Freighter Movements at HKIA

posted on 18th May 2020 by Eddie Saunders

Freighter movements at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) saw a strong growth with 24.3% year-on-year increase in April 2020, while cargo throughput remained lower than the same period last year. The COVID-19 pandemic’s severe impact on passenger traffic continued during the month.

HKIA handled 32,000 passengers and 9,445 flight movements in April, representing year-on-year decreases of 99.5% and 73.5%, respectively. Cargo throughput dropped 14.2% compared to the same month last year, to 338,000 tonnes.

During the month, all non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions by plane continued to be denied entry to Hong Kong, and the suspension of all transfer/transit services remained. Visitor and transfer/transit traffic decreased by almost 100%, compared to the same month last year. Hong Kong resident travel decreased by 99%.

Cargo exports to some markets recorded year-on-year increases, with North America being the strongest market. The overall decline in cargo handled was mainly attributed to the 51% decline in transshipments, while exports increased by 4% compared to the same month last year. Traffic to/from key trading regions in Southeast Asia and India decreased most significantly in the month.

Cissy Chan, Executive Director, Commercial of Airport Authority Hong Kong said, “It is a challenging time for air cargo as airlines have suspended most of their passenger flights, leading to a significant reduction in belly capacity for cargo. However, the demand for air cargo has remained relatively strong, especially for commodities related to COVID-19 prevention, including face masks and other medical supplies, as well as consumer electronics. HKIA has maintained a relatively stable cargo throughput, attributable to the airport’s extensive freighter network and agility in facilitation of chartered cargo flights, in addition to airlines using passenger aircraft for all cargo operations. The AA will continue to work with our cargo operators to provide efficient and reliable cargo handling services.”

Over the first four months of the year, HKIA handled 8.2 million passengers and 72,805 flight movements, representing year-on-year decreases of 67.5% and 48.5%, respectively, while cargo throughput recorded 1.3 million tonnes, a drop of 11.7% compared to the same period last year.

On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger volume and flight movements fell by 27.6% and 18.2% to 54.5 million and 351,215, respectively, while cargo throughput of 4.6 million tonnes was recorded, representing a decrease of 7.8% year on year.