Cargo throughput at Hong Kong International Airport escalated last month, but managers say the spike was due to the timing of Chinese New Year rather than an export recovery in China.
HKIA, the world’s largest international cargo airport last year in terms of volume last year, handled 287,000 metric tons last month, a year-over-year gain of 18.6 percent. However, Stanley Hui Hon-chung, chief executive of the airport authority, said a more reliable gauge of economic health could be made by combining figures for January and February to eliminate the holiday factor.
"While it is encouraging to see the uptick in cargo volume, we must note that the gain is partly because of the low base for comparison, as Chinese New Year fell in February in 2011, while this year it was in January,” he said.
Taking the two months together, aggregate cargo volume declined 2.3 percent to 562,000 metric tons compared to the same two-month period last year. The decline was mainly because of a 7 percent export contraction, with imports falling 2 percent, but transhipment cargo growing 2 percent.
"Both passenger traffic and flight movements continue their steady upward trend, while the decline in cargo volume is seemingly stabilising,” Hui said. “We remain optimistic that the overall positive trend will continue in view of the latest, more encouraging economic signals coming from Europe, the U.S. and the Chinese mainland.”
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