In December 2011, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) set a new monthly record for air traffic with 29,275 aircraft movements, exceeding the previous record of 28,951 in August 2011 and representing 5.5% year-on-year growth. During the month, passenger traffic increased 7.5% to 4.8 million, while cargo throughput saw a relatively smaller decline of 4.3% to 346,000 tonnes from a year earlier.
The rise in passenger traffic in December was mainly driven by visitor traffic, which registered 8% growth over the same month in 2010. Passenger traffic to and from the Mainland and South East Asia performed particularly well.
The cargo decline in December was mainly attributed to the 7% year-on-year drop in exports. Imports decreased by 5% while transshipments registered 3% growth compared to the same month in 2010. Europe and North America experienced double-digit year-on-year declines in overall cargo traffic as a result of the continued weak economic conditions in these two major markets.
For the year 2011, HKIA welcomed 53.9 million passengers and handled 333,760 aircraft movements, representing growth of 5.9% and 8.9% respectively as compared to 2010. Annual cargo performance decreased 4.6% to 3.9 million tonnes. Both passenger trips and aircraft movements set new records.
Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong, said, "It was a challenging yet exciting year overall for HKIA in 2011, in terms of operational excellence as well as growth and development. This year, we received 10 Best Airport awards. Our commitment to quality service continues to be widely recognised by travellers and the industry. I would like to thank our business partners and their staff for providing passengers and other users with the pleasant airport experience at HKIA."
We have also taken an important step toward securing HKIA's long-term prospects by completing the three-month public consultation on HKIA Master Plan 2030 (MP2030) and making recommendations to the Government to first, approve for planning purposes, adopting option 2 of the MP2030 i.e. a three-runway system at HKIA and second, to proceed to the next stage of Environmental Impact Assessment work and preparation of its associated design details.
In view of the further integration of economies of Hong Kong with the Mainland and in particular, the Pearl River Delta, Mr Hui said HKIA would continue with its efforts to enhance multi-modal connections with the Pearl River Delta. Cross-boundary passenger trips via limousines/ coaches and the SkyPier ferry services registered yearly growth of 11% and 7%, to 1.9 million and 2.4 million, respectively.
The year 2011 saw 13 new airlines start operations at HKIA, bringing the total number of airlines serving in Hong Kong to over 100. Multiple expansion and improvement projects are underway to maintain and improve service. HKIA has started a HK$500 million rejuvenation programme to upgrade a range of utilities, and in December 2011 the airport broke ground on the HK$9 billion Midfield project to meet growth demand for the medium term.
"Looking ahead, passenger volume and aircraft movements will likely continue their growth trend, though at a slower pace. Cargo tonnage may decline further due to the slowdown in global trade but the pace of decline will likely be less than what we have seen in 2011. Notwithstanding worldwide economic uncertainty in the near term, we are confident about the medium- and long-term growth prospects of HKIA. We will continue to enhance services at HKIA and strengthen Hong Kong's competitiveness as a leading international and regional aviation centre," Mr Hui added.