Data from Guangdong’s two major airports indicates that their air traffic continued to grow in August, while protests targeting the Hong Kong International Airport had a material impact on its traffic overall – not only that of its biggest carrier, Cathay Pacific. While overall traffic through HKIA dropped 12.4% YoY in August, the worst in more than 10 years, Shenzhen Baoan and Guangzhou Baiyun both saw their traffic rise by almost the same amount.
The three airports are more than 100 km apart and are not yet connected by high-speed railway, so it is not that easy for passengers stranded at one (for whatever reason) to switch to another one. Nevertheless, it seems that the two domestic airports, which do not have nearly as many international flights as HKIA does, appeared to make gains at the same time that Hong Kong was being disrupted.
Shenzhen’s airport saw a 5.8% YoY rise in number of flights, yet passenger counts jumped 9.2% YoY to 4.6 million. Cargo throughput also rose, up 7.1% YoY. Guangzhou’s airport saw flights up 3.4% YoY, and passenger throughput up 6.49% to 6.5 million, up 6.49% YoY. Cargo throughput was up 1.64% YoY.
HKIA, by contrast, handled only 6 million passengers in August, dropping 12.4% YoY, while cargo volume was down 11.5%.
Last year, HKIA handled 74.7 million passengers, Guangzhou 70 million, and Shenzhen 49.347 million. However, of Guangzhou’s total, only 17 million were international, while the number was even smaller for Shenzhen, at 3.93 million. Shenzhen airport recorded 8.2% YoY growth in passenger traffic last year, compared with 6% at Baiyun Airport and 2.5% at Hong Kong Airport.
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