Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is experiencing a boom in cargo flights, even as passenger traffic remains virtually non-existent amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport notes that May saw 6,335 cargo flight movements, up 29.3% from May 2019. Still, cargo throughput fell 6.8% to 377,000t compared to a year earlier.

“Cargo exports experienced an 11% year-on-year increase in May, with North America showing the strongest growth,” says HKIA.

“The overall decline in cargo throughput was mainly attributed to the decrease in transhipments and imports due to the reduced belly capacity of passenger flights. Traffic to and from key trading regions in Southeast Asia and India experienced the most significant drops.”

May’s passenger figures, however, continued to illustrate the crushing impact of coronavirus and its attendant travel restrictions on passenger flights.

May 2020 saw 4,735 passenger flight movements, down 84.6% year on year. May’s number of passengers handled collapsed, falling 99.4% to just 35,000 passengers, compared with 6.2 million a year earlier.

“As regards passenger traffic, due to the continuation of the entry restrictions for non-Hong Kong residents and the suspension of transfer/ transit services in May, visitors and transfer/ transit traffic decreased almost 100%.”

Travel by Hong Kong residents was down 99% from May 2019.