Airline chiefs lift HK recovery hopes

IATA says Hong Kong passenger traffic will return to pre-Covid levels by end of 2024 and welcomes plan to tackle airport labour shortage; Willie Walsh heading to Hong Kong Aviation Day in August

HONG KONG’s air-passenger numbers are set to reach pre-Covid levels by the end of 2024 after  the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revised its traffic projections following plans to import labour for the city’s airport.

IATA, the largest organisation representing the world’s airlines, welcomed the Hong Kong government’s efforts to increase the workforce with 6,300 workers from mainland China.

The revised projections bring Hong Kong’s recovery in line with expectations for a faster recovery across Asia Pacific, according to IATA.

“The situation is looking bright for Hong Kong,” said Willie Walsh, IATA director general. “China’s earlier than expected reopening is providing a much-needed boost to the passenger recovery.

More… HK travel industry on ‘steady recovery’

“By the end of 2024, we expect to see Hong Kong’s traffic return to pre-crisis levels. And it is encouraging to see the Hong Kong government preparing for this with measures to ensure that the workers needed to support the recovery are available,” Walsh said.

IATA said that while demand for air travel has been strong, airlines have faced supply chain challenges and a labour shortage.

“The last three years have been devastating for the aviation sector,” Walsh said. “As we look ahead to the recovery and prepare for future growth, it is important that the entire Hong Kong aviation community, including airlines, airport, regulator, and government, work together to address the challenges and are well prepared to tap on future opportunities.”

IATA and the Airport Authority Hong Kong are co-organising an aviation day in the city, August 2-3, which Walsh and other senior industry leaders are due to attend.

Main picture: A Cathay Pacific A330 at Hong International Airport

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