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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:22 PM   #2981
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Hong Kong's air cargo traffic drops 17.6 percent
15 June 2009
Agence France Presse

Air cargo shipped through Hong Kong dropped 17.6 percent year-on-year in May, the city's airport authority said, as the global downturn continued to slash demand for goods made in southern China.

Hong Kong International Airport handled 259,000 tonnes of cargo in May as shrinking markets in Europe and the United States hit traffic hardest, the Airport Authority Hong Kong said in a statement released Sunday.

The number of passengers passing through the airport, which is one of Asia's key transport hubs, dropped 12.7 percent year-on-year to 3.6 million, the statistics showed.

Passenger markets that suffered most were southeast Asia, Taiwan, Japan, China and north America.

The total number of journeys in and out of the airport dropped 9.1 percent over the same period.

"The negative performance reflected largely the impact of continuing global recession and the new but serious impact of influenza A(H1N1) virus, further weakening the aviation market and resulting in airlines reducing flight frequencies," said Airport Authority chief executive officer Stanley Hui.

He said he expected the trend to continue through June.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 07:30 AM   #2982
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7 slightly injured when Qantas flight hits turbulence over Malaysian Borneo
22 June 2009

PERTH, Australia (AP) - A Qantas plane hit turbulence and suddenly lost altitude over Malaysia, throwing terrified passengers around the cabin and leaving seven people injured, the airline said Monday.

The Airbus A330 with 219 passengers and crew aboard was flying from Hong Kong to the Australian west coast city of Perth overnight when it struck "severe turbulence" over Malaysian Borneo, Qantas said in a statement.

Passengers later described the panic and confusion in the darkened cabin as passengers not wearing seat belts were hurled from their seats.

"It appeared like we'd just dropped out of a 30-storey building," uninjured passenger Keith Huxtable said. "It was dark ... people screamed."

Passenger Michelle Knight, also not hurt, said the crew told her the plane had plunged 100 feet (30 meters).

Six passengers and a crew member were treated on board for minor injuries, Qantas corporate affairs manager David Epstein said. The captain reported minor damage inside the cabin, Epstein told Fairfax Radio.

Australian government safety officials were investigating the incident.

"There is no reason to link the incident to other recent in-flight incidents involving A330 aircraft," the Qantas statement said.

Three weeks ago, an Air France A330 jet fell into the Atlantic Ocean off the northeastern coast of Brazil after running into thunderstorms, killing all 228 people aboard. Investigations into that accident have focused on a flurry of automated messages sent by the plane minutes before it lost contact. One of the messages suggested a failure in the speed readings, and some experts have speculated the external instruments iced over.

In October, a computer malfunction on a Qantas A330 flying from Singapore to Perth caused the jet to nose-dive twice, leaving 12 passengers and crew seriously injured.

The Australian carrier underwent a safety review last year after a series of problems, including an oxygen tank explosion on a Boeing 747-400 that ripped a hole in the jet's fuselage last July, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the Philippines. No one was injured.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 07:31 AM   #2983
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 04:06 PM   #2984
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Old June 24th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #2985
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Bid to showcase city's best products
13 June 2009
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

HONG KONG: Some of the city's most prominent and established products will, for the first time, be showcased and promoted to some 100,000 travelers who use the Hong Kong International Airport any given day, bolstering their brand recognition and recall in the process.

Sixteen of Hong Kong's most prominent product brands are to be exhibited at the airport under a project dubbed Parade of Hong Kong Top Brands.

The exhibitors will include local catering giant Maxim's and Chinese herbal medicine company Hoe Hin Pak Fah Yeow.

The exhibition, organized by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council (HKBDC) and the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, will run until November 30. Admission is free.

HKBDC Chairwoman Shirley Chan said on Friday that around 100,000 people use the airport, making it an ideal venue for the exhibition.

"The council has been participating in almost 20 exhibitions in Hong Kong and different cities on the mainland, but this is our first time to organize a local-brand-promoting event in such an important transportation hub," Chan said at the opening ceremony Friday at the airport.

She added that the exhibition will play a crucial role in promoting Hong Kong brands over the next six months.

Danny Ngai, vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said the local industrial and commercial sectors have gone through severe challenges amid the city's deepening economic recession, triggered by the global financial crisis.

"While many local enterprises are dealing with their short-term difficulties in operations, they have yet to slow down the pace for establishing their brands," he said.

That the exhibition is being held amid adverse economic conditions reflect the determination and commitment of member companies to develop their brand image, Ngai added.

Around 140 brands which have won the Hong Kong Top Brand Awards and Hong Kong Top Service Brand Awards in the past decade are also displayed in the exhibition.

"It is a conclusion and evaluation of our 10-year work," Ngai said.

Hong Kong International Airport Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hui said the city's airport, like the products on display, is one of the most prestigious brands in Hong Kong.

"This exhibition has showed many home-grown products of high quality, while some of them even have long-standing history," Hui said. "These products might refresh the memory of many Hong Kong people."

Hui, meanwhile, said passenger volume at the airport posted a double-digit drop in May due mainly to the outbreak of the A(H1N1) influenza.

"Cargo volume has been maintained at 9,000 to 10,000 tons per day in the past two months," he said. "We expect the drop in cargo volume to narrow down in the near term."
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Old June 24th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #2986
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #2987
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HK Airport Authority Last FY Net Profit Up 14% At HK$2.59 Bln
24 June 2009

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Airport Authority Hong Kong, which operates the city's international airport, said Wednesday its net profit for the year ended March 31 rose 14%, on higher passenger traffic and retail income in the April-September half before the global financial crisis started to hit air traffic.

"Clearly the aviation industry continues to suffer from the economic recession and traffic performance at HKIA will continue to reflect this," said Stanley Hui, chief executive of the airport authority.

The unlisted government-owned airport operator said net profit for its last fiscal year rose to HK$2.59 billion (US$334.2 million) from HK$2.27 billion the previous year. Its return on equity rose to 7.2% from 6.5%.

Revenue increased 3.6% to HK$8.89 billion from HK$8.58 billion.

In its last fiscal year, the airport handled 47.7 million passengers, or 2.5% fewer than the previous year, and cargo volume throughput fell 10% to 3.4 million metric tons.

"The huge increase in cross-strait direct flights...expected to be seen later this year will bring about further impact on passenger and cargo volumes at HKIA," Hui said.

Mainland China and Taiwan have been increasing the number of direct cross-strait flights amid warming relations. Previously, travelers between mainland China and Taiwan had to pass through a third location, usually Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong airport authority also said it will pay its sole shareholder, the Hong Kong government, a dividend of HK$2.2 billion for the last fiscal year, up 10% from HK$2.0 billion the previous fiscal year.

It said 35%-owned Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, contributed a net profit of HK$193 million in the last fiscal year, more than double its contribution the previous fiscal year.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:41 AM   #2988
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #2989
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Travel agents take to the streets as airlines plan to slash commission
24 June 2009
The Standard

Hundreds of travel agents from eight trade associations yesterday protested against airlines Air France and KLM over a plan to slash commission payments.

The agents warned they may be forced to charge travelers a service fee to make up for the loss of income.

Convener of the Alliance Against Commission Cuts by Air France/KLM Tommy Tam Kwong-shun accused the airlines of cutting out ticketing agents to enhance their own online service.

Sister companies Air France and KLM announced last month that they will reduce their agency commission from 5 percent to 3 percent in October, and pay no commission at all by April 1 next year.

The alliance, which represents 1,496 agents, said the cut will make business even harder in an environment already suffering from the global financial tsunami and H1N1 outbreak.

Tam said commission is the main source of income for many agents, and warned a service fee of about 5 percent of the ticket price may be charged in future.

Although Air France and KLM's market share in Hong Kong is only about 2 percent on worldwide destinations, Tam fears it will create a chain reaction among other airlines.

The protesters marched from the piazza outside COSCO Tower, Sheung Wan, to the office of Air France and KLM in nearby Vicwood Plaza and appealed to other industry members to stop selling tickets for the two airlines.

In response, the airlines said the zero commission is a global trend, and that agents should make money by providing professional services instead of relying solely on commissions.

Spokesmen for Cathay Pacific, Dragon Airlines and British Airways said they have no plan to drop commissions.
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Old June 26th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #2990
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港深機場互補 中國駁通世界; 穗爭做空運一哥 挑戰港地位
24 June 2009
香港經濟日報

  在珠三角《綱要》出台後,廣州雄心勃勃建立大廣州策略,要在海運及空運上,既吸納內地的人流、貨源運往外地,也希望成為外國貨運來中國的集散地,建立全國海空樞紐地位。

  香港是否建第3條跑道遲遲未有定案,但已擁有3條跑道的廣州白雲機場,已計劃在2020年建成第5條跑道,到時人流的吞吐量比香港現時高一倍多。專家認為,香港應積極拓展國際航線,與深圳聯合,否則數年後會被廣州超越,難保珠三角第一機場地位。

  珠三角五大機場惡鬥多年,《綱要》發布後,促使五大巨頭坐下來,首次達成各自定位,但香港並不能就此安枕無憂。事實上,廣州為落實《綱要》,發展大廣州策略,其中白雲機場以驚人速度發展。

穗建第5跑道 吞吐量勢超港

  2004年8月至今,白雲機場已陸續開通了30多條國際航線,國際航線總數接近60條。2010年前,機場將完成第3條跑道建設,第4及第5條跑道將分別於2015年、2020年建成。屆時可應付每年9,000萬至1億人次吞吐量,成為泛珠三角最大的機場。

  由於貨源集中在珠三角,白雲機場重點提升貨運方面競爭力,機場已招攬聯邦快遞落戶,建立亞太貨物轉運中心,並籌建全國最大物流保稅區,有助發展物流配置中心。這些本是香港已在做或計劃發展的項目。

  據統計,香港航空客貨吞吐量目前仍拋離廣州,仍是泛珠三角吞吐能力最大的機場;去年香港機場的客運人次達4,860萬、貨運量360萬公噸,高於廣州機場的3,343.72萬人次及68.59萬公噸。

  中山大學港澳珠三角研究所教授鄭天祥認為,香港若不積極提升競爭力,遲早被廣州超越;事實上,香港航空客運量去年只有1.7%增長,但廣州高達8%。

  他估計廣州空港客運吞吐量將在2015年超越香港,貨運亦很可能在10年後與香港平起平坐;香港倘不積極增加國際航線、加強與深圳機場合作,迎戰廣州競爭,香港作為區內國際航空樞紐的地位恐難保。

  面對廣州空港競爭,但港府的看法似較樂觀,有港府官員認為,在5大機場中僅香港定位為國際航空樞紐,故廣州白雲機場縱然不斷擴建,香港仍存優勢,反而對深圳機場構成更大競爭威脅,所以認定港深機場合作,以及將香港機場的腹地擴至珠三角,是鞏固香港機場地位的出路。

海外客赴蘇州 可來港經深飛

  他說,珠三角各機場也希望拓展國際航線,但暫只有香港有自主航權談判優勢,即使廣州及深圳現仍要透過中央分配各城市機場國際航班數量。

  「香港飛內地二、三線城市航班少,但深圳內地航班則較多,如兩機場接通,舉例說國際旅客想去蘇州,便可先從外地來港,再轉到深圳飛往蘇州。」港府官員指這便是港深優勢互補,深圳機場亦可吸引外國旅客,增加與廣州機場競爭能力。

港深機鐵 前海洪水橋設站

  商討中的港深機場鐵路,港府希望與深圳優勢互補、擴大香港機場的腹地。因按照有關構想,鐵路會於香港的洪水橋,以及對岸深圳的前海設站,當中前海會是深圳未來第2個市中心,亦是規劃作深圳服務中心區域,發展潛力大。

  港府消息指,「將來前海站想做到如現時的機鐵中環站及九龍站般,可以在此辦登機手續,寄送行李,搭約23分鐘車便到達香港機場,就如你由中環站搭機鐵到機場,也是23分鐘。」
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Old June 26th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #2991
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Old June 26th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #2992
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Qantas jet in the dark on turbulence risk
23 June 2009
The Australian

THE inability of radar on a Perth-bound Qantas Airbus to detect ice crystals will be at the centre of an air safety investigation into severe turbulence that threw passengers out of their seats, injuring up to 12 people.

The A330-300 aircraft plunged suddenly over Borneo early yesterday before landing safely at Perth International Airport just before 8am.

``All of a sudden the plane dropped -- I reckon about a 30-storey building -- and there was a hell of a kerfuffle in the plane,'' passenger Keith Huckstable told ABC radio.

Qantas said crew on the Airbus, which was carrying 206 passengers and 13 crew, were given little notice of the approaching turbulence, four hours after leaving Hong Kong.

Qantas said last night it appeared nothing had gone wrong with flight QF68's systems, and the airline retained confidence in the A330 despite several recent incidents.

Three weeks ago, an Air France A330-200 mysteriously crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 on board, while

last October 70 people were injured on a Qantas A330-300 flying over Western Australia when the plane suddenly lost altitude after an apparent computer malfunction.

Australian and International Pilots Association president Barry Jackson said he had spoken to QF68's captain, Paul Flack, and the aircraft may have hit cloud-associated convective turbulence, which the weather radar could not pick up.

``The radar is designed to pick up moisture; it's not designed to pick up turbulence or ice crystals,'' Captain Jackson said.

``Around Borneo there is some high terrain and obviously that's probably where the clouds have come from.''

After the jet landed in Perth, Captain Flack told passengers convective turbulence was not normally visible to weather radar, which was designed to detect moisture but not ice crystals.

Qantas corporate affairs manager David Epstein also said convective turbulence was likely to have caused the plane to soar 800 feet before falling back to its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.

Six passengers and one crew member were taken to Royal Perth Hospital suffering neck and back pain after the plane landed. One man reportedly received a cut to the head.

All were released yesterday afternoon.

Passengers likened the experience, which lasted 15-20 seconds, to plunging into a deep hole. Lightning cracked outside, people screamed and those not wearing seatbelts were flung about the cabin.

Michelle Knight was part of a group of 12 people, including six children, returning to Perth from a holiday in Hong Kong.

``It really shook everyone up,'' she said. ``There were things flying everywhere. You just turned around and there were things all over the floor. We saw all the people in front of us all go up at the same time and all go down at the same time. Everyone sort of went sideways.''

Another member of the group, Elsie Hudson, said her friend Vicky Richards was one of those injured.

``There was this massive drop and Vicky, who was with us, she didn't have a seatbelt on and she hit the roof, the console, and she actually cracked it and took one of the light covers off,'' she said.

``She was in a lot of pain in the end, her headache progressed worse and worse and her neck got worse and worse, and by the end she couldn't move.''

Passengers received an apology from Qantas and an offer of counselling and the reimbursement of medical expenses. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate the incident.
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Old June 26th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #2993
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Old June 27th, 2009, 06:44 AM   #2994
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Cargo handlers missed radioactive package
27 June 2009
South China Morning Post

A radioactive consignment that went missing from a China Eastern Airlines flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong has turned up back in Shanghai after a hiccup in cargo handling.

Two small lead containers holding 60 seeds of iodine-125 used to treat prostate cancer were sent to Hong Kong on Tuesday, but medical supplies company Global Medical Solutions reported them missing when they did not show up.

Yesterday a China Eastern official, who did not want to be identified, said cargo handlers had not seen the package in a cargo container because it was so small, and the "empty" tray was returned to the aircraft and flown back to Shanghai.

"The package of the parcel was intact and there is no evidence of any leakage of radioactive substance," the official said.

The parcel had not been delivered to anywhere outside the security areas of the airports in Shanghai and Hong Kong, he said.

It was believed that because of the size of the parcel, a cube of 16 sq cm, workers at the cargo terminal mistakenly thought the container was empty and returned it to the plane.

It was the first time the airline had lost track of a dangerous shipment in its history of cargo handling, the official said.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #2995
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Qantas defends A330 after new turbulence scare
22 June 2009
Agence France Presse

Qantas on Monday defended its fleet of Airbus A330s after severe turbulence left 12 people injured in the latest scare involving the aircraft.

The Australian flag-carrier blamed the incident during a flight from Hong Kong to Perth on freak weather conditions and dismissed any link to other A330 accidents including the Air France disaster on June 1.

"There is nothing to link the aircraft to anything untoward," said company spokesman David Epstein.

Flight QF68 was passing over Malaysia about four hours into its flight when it was hit by a blast of ferocious turbulence, dropping about 100 feet (30 metres) and sending passengers flying.

"It appeared like we'd just dropped out of a 30-storey building," said passenger Keith Huxtable, as another traveller described how a woman was flung into the plane's ceiling.

"I was sitting at the exit door and I had this lady, (who) was waiting at the restroom and she flew up and hit the ceiling and came crashing down to the floor," the passenger, named John, told Fairfax radio.

"It was just a matter of a few seconds but it was really sudden and things went flying."

Twelve people were treated for bruises and neck and back pain after the plane landed at about 7:30 am (2330 GMT Sunday) in Perth, AAP news agency said.

The incident comes just 11 days after a cockpit blaze forced a Jetstar A330 to make an emergency landing, and also follows the Air France tragedy when 228 died in a mysterious accident involving the same model of plane.

Last October, a Qantas A330 went into two steep dives over Western Australia, causing several serious injuries and prompting an emergency landing.

Qantas, which has 10 A330-300s and six Airbus A330-200s and also operates budget airline Jetstar, dismissed any links between Monday's incident and previous ones.

"There is no reason to link the incident to other recent in-flight incidents involving A330 aircraft," Qantas said in a statement, adding an investigation was under way.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #2996
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Old June 28th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #2997
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Airport Authority Declares HK$2,200 Million Final Dividend to the
Hong Kong Government

Press Release

(HONG KONG, 24 June 2009) – Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) today declared a final dividend of HK$2,200 million to its shareholder, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, for the financial year ended 31 March 2009, an increase of 10.0% on the previous year. Turnover and profit attributable to the equity shareholder rose 3.6% and 13.9% to $8,886 million and $2,588 million, respectively.

For the 12 months ended 31 March 2009, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 47.7 million passengers and 296,000 air traffic movements, showing mild falls of 2.5% and 1.1%, respectively. Cargo volumes recorded a larger drop of 10.0% to 3.4 million tonnes.

The aviation market worldwide has been hard hit by the global recession brought about abruptly by the financial tsunami that started in September 2008, which caused worldwide travel and economic activities to shrink. The launch of cross-strait direct flights also had a negative impact on traffic volumes at HKIA during the year under review.

Airport Authority Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hui Hon-chung said, "Although the financial tsunami dealt a heavy blow to the global economy and the aviation industry, the AA managed to achieve a reasonably healthy financial performance for 2008/09 by implementing tight cost controls, enhancing productivity and revising the schedule of our short-term expansion plans. These measures, together with the relatively stronger traffic and earnings performance in the first half of the financial year, have helped to mitigate the negative impact of the economic downturn."

A combination of factors accounted for the positive financial performance. In addition to a 19.5% growth of profit attributable to the equity shareholder recorded for the first half of the financial year, retail revenue showed an 8.3% increase due to higher spending per passenger and the availability of additional retail space in Terminal 1. The share of profit from the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport joint venture also contributed to the profit growth. During the year, the AA booked a profit of $193 million from the joint venture, a 116.9% increase from the previous year.

Improvements were also made on the cost front. The AA recorded a 3.2% reduction in depreciation and amortisation and a 45.2% drop in interest and finance charges, realising savings of $265 million. Profit performance was a combined result of increased revenue and better cost control which led to an improvement in return on equity from 6.5% to 7.2%.

"Our near-term performance will depend on a number of factors. Clearly the aviation industry continues to suffer from the economic recession and traffic performance at HKIA will continue to reflect this. The spread of H1N1 around different parts of the world has also dampened travel desire, which has been reflected in passenger volume since May this year. The huge increase in cross-strait direct flights, operating on a scheduled basis with air cargo carried in the belly of the passenger flights, expected to be seen later this year will bring about further impact on passenger and cargo volumes at HKIA," added Mr Hui.

"Nevertheless, we remain confident in the longer term growth of HKIA because the economy of Mainland China remains robust, particularly in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. We will continue to control costs diligently while maintaining the highest standards of safety, reliability, security and service quality at HKIA. We will also continue to work with airlines, other business partners and the government to maintain and strengthen HKIA's aviation centre status," said Mr Hui.

Airport Authority Hong Kong's Executive Director, Finance & Investment, Raymond Lai Wing-chueng, said, "During the year, the AA froze headcounts and ensured that all possible areas of cost-savings were identified, translating into a saving of 5.1% of the budgeted operating expenses. Earnings growth, however, was under pressure in light of the contraction in air traffic volumes. The $450 million relief package announced in April 2009 to help airlines and other businesses operating at HKIA will naturally affect revenue and profit next year."

To plan ahead for the next 20 years, the AA is working on the HKIA Master Plan 2030. The Master Plan will update air traffic forecasts, capacity requirements, development proposals and growth strategies, including the technical and environmental feasibility of a third runway.

In addition to long-term planning, several new facilities will commence services this year. These facilities include the permanent SkyPier which replaces the current temporary SkyPier. The permanent SkyPier connects HKIA with the PRD including Macao through high speed ferry services linking six ports in the PRD region with HKIA. The North Satellite Concourse and the first phase of the Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility will start operating soon too. When in operation, the concourse, part of the $4.5 billion capacity and facility enhancement programme that started in 2006, will provide 10 bridge-served stands for narrow-bodied aircraft.

HKIA's two mainland joint ventures performed well last year. Passenger and cargo volumes at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport reached 12.7 million and 210,793 tonnes in 2008, up 8.0% and 7.7% from 2007, respectively. Managed under AA's joint venture with the Zhuhai Municipal Government, Zhuhai Airport achieved cash flow break-even for the first time in its 13-year operating history. Zhuhai Airport handled 1.1 million passengers and 11,140 tonnes of cargo in 2008, representing year-on-year increases of 7.8% and 3.7%.

The AA remains committed to maintaining HKIA as a regional and international aviation centre and a preferred gateway to Mainland China. This is important in supporting the economic growth of Hong Kong as a financial, trading, logistics and tourism centre. Given the importance of connectivity with the PRD for HKIA, the AA welcomes the decision by the Hong Kong SAR Government to locate the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to the east of HKIA. The AA is working closely with the Hong Kong SAR Government to ensure that the bridge will interface effectively with HKIA, offering hassle-free transfer of passenger and cargo traffic between the bridge and HKIA. The AA also continues to support studies being undertaken between the Hong Kong SAR Government and Shenzhen Municipal Government on the proposed high-speed rail link between HKIA, Shenzhen municipality and Shenzhen International Airport. Upon completion of these cross-boundary infrastructures, the competitiveness of HKIA as an aviation centre will be greatly enhanced.

Download the Annual Report 2008/09:
http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/m...rep-index.html
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Old June 28th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #2998
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Old June 29th, 2009, 05:52 AM   #2999
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Visas, direct flights on agenda for Taiwan-H.K. forum, Hau says
26 June 2009
Kyodo News

HONG KONG, June 26 -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said Friday a twin-city forum will be held between Taipei and Hong Kong to facilitate visa-free access for people of the two cities and direct flights between Songshan airport and Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong, among other issues.

''We have reached consensus on the Songshan-Chek Lap Kok direct flight route,'' Hau told reporters when concluding the first of his two-day visit. ''Since we agreed to increase communications and hold more official visits between the two cities, we should solve not only the issue of direct flight, but also of visa-free access.''

Hau said Songshan has direct flights to Shanghai, Tokyo and soon Seoul, and he believes there is a good chance to link up with Hong Kong as well.

''When the (twin-city) forum is held, difficulties and problems arising from cooperation between the two cities can be solved. Setting up representative offices will also help business opportunities in future,'' he said.

No timetable was set for the forum.

Earlier in the day, Hau met with Chief Executive Donald Tsang and Hong Kong's home affairs minister, visited a sports ground and played ping-pong games with Hong Kong athletes who will be attending Taipei's Summer Deaflympics.

Hau said Tsang turned down the invitation to attend the sports event in September, saying he will be busy working on his policy address to be delivered in October, but he promised to send some other officials.

Tsang has said he plans to visit Taiwan ''shortly,'' before his term ends in 2012.

''If Mr. Tsang can visit Taiwan, I believe that will be a significant indication that mainland China and Hong Kong are friendly to Taiwan. This would encourage most of the mainland China officials to visit Taiwan,'' he said.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 06:31 AM   #3000
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by Daryl Chapman - Bauhinia photography
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