Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) saw a significant drop in passenger traffic in February due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the figures released by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), HKIA handled 1.9 million passengers during the month.

The passenger numbers show a year-on-year (YoY) decrease of 68%, mainly due to weak travel demand, as well as immigration restrictions and quarantine measures.

February’s flight movements were 18,005, down by 44.5%.

Cargo volume fell 8.9% to 251,000t.

Over the past one year, passenger volume and flight movements have decreased from 11.1% to 6.2% to 66.8m and 402,030 respectively. Cargo fell by 6.2% to 4.7m tonnes.

The combined passenger traffic in January and February showed a YoY decrease of 38.5% to 7.6m. Around 51,215 flight movements were reported, representing a decrease of 25.7%.

Cargo volume also reduced by 9.8% to 611,000t in the first two months of the year.

According to AA, passenger traffic in the last two months declined due to a 63% YoY drop in visitor traffic.

Last month, passenger traffic to and from Mainland China and Southeast Asia ‘recorded the most significant decreases’.

The drop in passenger numbers is expected to continue this month as many airlines are delaying and/or cancelling more flights.

Meanwhile, AA has been working with the Port Health Division of the Department of Health (DH) to help implement their infection control measures and quarantine procedures at HKIA.

AA Hong Kong Service Delivery deputy director Steven Yiu said: “The AA has strengthened dissemination of messages regarding prevention of pneumonia and respiratory tract infection through public announcements, posters, pamphlets and videos.

“Latest information on quarantine requirements at the airport is also provided on HKIA’s website and HKG My Flight mobile app. Cleaning and disinfection efforts in the terminal and passenger facilities have also been stepped up, while additional alcohol hand sanitisers are provided at all major passageways in the terminal.”