Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) experienced significant cargo growth during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, recording 4.2 million tonnes of cargo during the period, a 16.5 percent year-over-year increase. The airport's 2010-2011 total of 316,000 movements is a 12.9 percent year-over-year increase.
HKIA has now taken the position of world's busiest cargo airport away from Memphis International Airport. More growth is in store for the next fiscal year, Stanely Hui Hon-chung, HKIA's CEO, said in a statement.
“In view of the sustained economic expansion of the Mainland and global economies, we believe air traffic will continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace. Earnings growth in the near term is also expected to be tempered by slower traffic growth and the higher base that was created in fiscal 2010/ 2011," he said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also pointed to slower traffic growth for the remainder of the year in its most recent traffic results report. In May, airfreight worldwide experienced a 4 percent decline in year-over-year activity. Focusing just on the Asia-Pacific region, IATA recorded a year-over-year decrease of 9.2 percent in May. Latin America and the Middle East were the only regions to experience positive growth, with 1.5 percent and 8.1 percent increases, respectively.
Taking all of 2011 into account, air cargo has only seen a 2-percent growth rate so far this year, a far cry from IATA's original 5.5 percent forecast; this number might get a little better during the rest of the year, but a huge growth rate isn't anticipated.
"While the continued expansion of world trade at around 6 percent annually could lend support to accelerated freight growth in the second half of 2011, the performance so far this year has been lower than expected," an IATA spokesman said in a statement.
The next fiscal year will also bring new projects to the airport. Officials at the airport will begin construction on the first phase of its Midfield project, which includes a new concourse and a new cross-field taxiway. An overhaul of the airport's underground utilities is also included in the development. Delivery is expected in 2015.
Another ongoing project is HKIA's proposal for a third runway, which was included in the airport's Master Plan 2030. Since its release in early June, numerous aviation organizations have expressed support for an additional runway, which is said to be needed in order for HKIA to stay competitive.
“It is important to recognize that infrastructure such as HKIA plays a critical supporting role for Hong Kong. Aviation, including the airport, underpins the four pillars of the Hong Kong economy: financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and producer and professional services. Infrastructure development will provide benefits to Hong Kong for generation after generation. We are firmly committed to ensuring that HKIA continues to be a regional and international aviation center, and that it contributes to the long-term sustainable growth of Hong Kong,” Hui Hon-chung said.