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Protests drag Hong Kong passenger volumes down

Hong Kong International airport registered a 12% fall in passenger numbers during August as violent protests impacted visitor traffic to the region.

The airport handled just under six million passengers for the month, down from 6.85 million in August 2018, and was driven by declines in arrivals from mainland China, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

The Airport Authority of Hong Kong noted that the month was characterised by disruptions from protests at the airport, which also resulted in flight movements falling 3.5% to 36,655.

"In the past few months, there have been huge challenges to airport operations at times. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the airport community, we managed to maintain normal operations and minimise impact on travellers," says CK Ng, executive director airport operations at the Authority.

Those disruptions have lessened since a court granted an injunction that barred protestors from assembling in several areas around the airport.

Cargo volumes handled through the airport fell 11.5% to 382,000 tonnes, driven by declines on shipments from Southeast Asia and China.

The Authority cited "global trade uncertainties" for the fall in cargo traffic, with trans-shipments and imports both declining in double-digit percentage terms.

The figures from the airport come after Cathay Pacific reported a 38% fall in inbound traffic to Hong Kong during August and signalled that it would cut capacity over the winter scheduling season.

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