Flight movements at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) in March rose 15.5% year-on-year to a monthly high of 28,140. A new single-day record of 971 flight movements was also set on 31 March, breaking the previous record made on 20 April 2008.
HKIA also handled a total of 4.2 million passengers last month, an increase of 1.8% compared to March 2010. The growth in passenger traffic was mainly driven by Hong Kong resident travel, which registered an increase of 6% over the same period last year. Passenger traffic to/from Southeast Asia and Mainland China also performed well.
Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong, said the strong increase in flight movements was attributable to airlines increasing flights on the back of robust economy of the region, while the moderate growth in passenger traffic reflected partly the high growth rate in March last year and the immediate aftermath of the recent crises in Japan, which has led airlines to reduce flights to the country.
“Airlines around the world will continue to reduce flights to Japan until the nuclear threat is cleared. In the case of Hong Kong based airlines, we have seen capacity being redeployed from Japan to other destinations in the region, which is why we continue to see reasonable increase in flight movements at HKIA. The situation with Japan may persist for a while, but we remain cautiously optimistic that the aviation market in general will continue to grow,” Hui said.
In the first quarter of 2011, passenger traffic registered a yearly 4.6% increase, reaching 12.5 million, while flight movements jumped 14.0% to 79,845.