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Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) – the major air cargo handler at the world’s largest air cargo hub – has reported the second best year in the company’s history.

The fourth quarter in 2012 saw total traffic up 6.2% on 2011, at 754,226 tonnes: the best total tonnage and best annual growth in any quarter since the beginning of 2011.

The fourth quarter was also the best quarter for exports in 2012: November’s figure of 142,632 tonnes was the best in 2012, while December’s was the third best. December’s imports figure of 61,659 tonnes meanwhile made it 2012’s top import month.

The year as a whole was the second best in Hactl’s 37-year history, at a total of 2,777,519 tonnes: up 2.1% on 2011, and just 4.2% short of the company’s all-time record of 2,899,603 tonnes which was set in the post-recession bounce of 2010.

The quarter was positively impacted by traffic feeding through from the five new carriers signed up by Hactl since September: Air Astana with twice-weekly B757s, Globus Airlines with twice-weekly B737s, SF Airlines with five-times-weekly B737Fs, Uni-top Airlines with chartered B747Fs, and Vladivostok Air with twice-weekly A320s.

The fourth quarter also saw a boom in freighter services handled by Hactl, as carriers brought in some 42 charter flights from late October to December, to help cope with the pre-Christmas boost in cargo traffic.

Says Hactl Executive Director Lilian Chan: “2012 ended stronger than we expected. Despite the continuing uncertainty in Europe and the US, our figures have maintained a modest and steady recovery that hopefully will become a sustainable trend.

“2013 will be challenging for us, as Cathay Pacific Airways migrates to self-handling and we relinquish their business in phases throughout the year. We are well-prepared, and our 100 other airline customers have been growing as a proportion of our total business, which will cushion the overall impact.”

Photo from www.hactl.com

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