The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) has announced a 16.2% decrease year-on-year in Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKIA) passenger traffic to 5,026,000.
The airport handled 969,000 fewer passengers in November, while flight volumes dropped by 8.3% to 32,510 year-on-year.
In the first 11 months, 65.8 million passengers used HKIA, an increase of +3.4%.
In a statement, AAHK notes weakened foreign passenger demand with trips to and from Mainland and Southeast Asia revealing the most dramatic drops.
International media are calling the decline in passengers the worst in more than a decade.
Flag carrier Cathay Pacific had earlier announced its capacity schedule in November/December would be pared back by 6.7% due to weakened passenger travel volumes to and from Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been beset by more than six months of anti-government protests against leader Carrie Lam’s proposed controversial (and now withdrawn) extradition bill.
While violent skirmishes between police and demonstrators of the sort that emerged over the summer – hitting travel retailers at the airport (which also had to contend with transport worker strikes) – appear to have died down, trouble flared up again over the weekend at some of the city’s shopping centres.
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua says months of protracted unrest has severely impacted tourism, a ‘pillar’ of Hong Kong’s economy.
Last month, pro-democracy candidates swept to victory in local council elections, but there is little sign of further concessions from Beijing.
Chief Executive Lam is due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the situation today (16 December).