Macau International Airport's [MIA] passenger and cargo traffic tumbled in 2009 as the island struggled to cope with the economic downturn and a sharp decrease in transit passengers from China.

The airport handled 4.25 million passengers in 2009, down 17% from 5.1 million passengers in 2008. Aircraft movements closely mirrored that, falling by 18% to 40,601.

The cargo market was affected by a bigger slowdown. Cargo traffic fell by 48% to 52,260t from 100,760t in 2008. However, the one bright spot was that the figures showed a gradual increase through the year - up from 2,780t in January to 5,600t in December - as regional economic conditions got better.

Macau Airport says that "the oil price fluctuations, airline financial crisis, the global financial tsunami, H1N1 influenza epidemic, sharp decrease in transit passengers and the political turbulence in Southeast Asian countries" had an impact on passenger and cargo traffic last year.

"In order to break away from the economic shadows in shortest possible time and shorten the recovery period, MIA takes a future outlook and is bold to make commitments. Facing the drastic decrease of business revenues of 2009, MIA did not abandon the investment of facilities and equipments but strengthen the improvement and expansion of infrastructure construction," it adds.

It says that in 2010, it will press ahead with plans to develop a "virtual airport strategy, strengthen the relationships with strategic partners and maintain our competitive advantage in differentiation strategy". Investments in the construction of infrastructure facilities will continue, and it will continue to seek deeper ties with airports from China and Portuguese-speaking countries

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news