Asian airports hit hard by downturn

WITH the recent slump in the aviation industry Asian airports are starting to worry about their viability. Rajasansi Airport in Amritsar, India until recently considered as competition to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, is struggling and faces closure as international and domestic airlines cancel increasing amounts of flights.

Last year, the airport was catering to nearly 100 flights per week. Now the flights per week have fallen by 20 per cent. This has not been helped by the airport charging sometimes twice as much to land there as at Delhi and an increasing amount of complaints over a lack of facilities.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in India, the new GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) airport’s break-even period, originally expected to be five-and-a-half years, is likely to be prolonged. This is despite international cargo freight increasing by 47.8 per cent to 17,673 tonnes compared to 11,955 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. “It might take an additional six months time to achieve break-even”, GHIAL chief commercial officer, Viswanath Attaluri, said.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA) released figures showing 4.07 million passengers used Chek Lap Kok airport in October, down 1.4 percent from the 4.12 million recorded during the same month last year. The HKAA also said the amount of cargo handled was 9.2 percent down year on year to 320,000 tonnes.

HKAA chief executive officer Stanley Hui Hon-Chung said: “The global financial turmoil is biting deeper into world economies while business and trade activities are appreciably slowing down.”

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