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January surge in cargo reflects traditional Lunar New Year trend

A comparative surge in air cargo and an equally large drop in passenger traffic in January were attributed to the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays in 2001, the Airport Authority said last month.

The holidays traditionally are a busy time for travel but quiet for business, not only in Hong Kong but East Asia in general. Passenger traffic soars while cargo operations wind down over a period of about two weeks.

Last year the holidays occurred in January, but fell in February this year. As a result, passenger traffic was 2.52mn in January 2002, down 11.8% year-on-year, while cargo shipments were 171,000 tonnes, a rise of 19.6% this year. Exports (loaded cargo) saw a significant increase of 26.5% to 98,000 tonnes, but again the figure should be regarded in the context of last year's Lunar New Year off-peak period.

The number of flight movements was 15,870, 3.6% lower than last year, as more flights operated to cope with additional passenger traffic in Lunar New Year last year.

In the past 12 months, passenger throughput from February 2001 was 32.7mn, down 3.3% compared with the same period from February 2000. Cargo traffic fell by 5.3% to 2.11mn tonnes while civil international flight movements increased by 6.3% to 196,230.