Airport Update

HONG Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has announced a drop of 16.3 per cent on its cargo tonnage for the first nine months of the year, down to 1,624,116 tons. For September, the company measured a drop of 4.3 per cent, a total of 212,391 tons, taking the third quarter to a total of 620,358 tons, down 6.3 per cent from 2008.

“Looking forward, we expect further tonnage improvement hopefully in a pre-Christmas peak,” said Lilian Chan (right), general manager of marketing and customer service of Hactl.

HOUSTON’S Bush International Airport has said that it plans to challenge Miami’s dominance of the US flower market. Miami currently holds onto 86 per cent of the domestic flower market, worth US$739 million, and 71 per cent of domestic perishables. But with the opening of a new cargo facility in November, Bush Airport says that its more central location will draw perishables forwarders eager to save any time at all from trucking their produce.

BAA recorded a 6.3 per cent drop in its UK airports’ cargo tonnage for September, to a total of 135,223 metric tonnes. This leaves the company’s year-to-date figures down 14.7 per cent from last year, at 1,121,071.

Hardest hit was London Gatwick, continuing its decline as a cargo hub, down 21.7 per cent for the month to 5,959 tonnes. London Heathrow was down 6.2 per cent to 110,244 tonnes. However, while slight compared to the dominance of Heathrow, all non-London airports recorded positive increases for cargo traffic.

The company said: “Recent figures suggest that while underlying market conditions remain soft, there are some signs of a recovery,” the company said.

CHINA’S new Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport – due to open next year – will be run by both Shanghai’s and Hong Kong’s airport authorities. Shanghai Airport Authority has paid CNY51 million (US$7.47 million) for a controlling 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, while Airport Authority Hong Kong paid CNY49 million for the remaining 49 per cent.

In 2008, Hongqiao Airport handled 415,700 metric tonnes of cargo, but it claims that it will be able to handle one million tons a year by 2015.

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