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Recovery will take time, says airport CEO

2023-02-05 HKT 12:00
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  • Recovery will take time, says airport CEO
Airport Authority CEO Fred Lam on Sunday said a government plan to hand out free flight tickets will offer a much-needed boost to the stricken aviation industry, but he also said the sector would need up to two years to get back to pre-pandemic levels.

His comments came days after Chief Executive John Lee unveiled a global promotional drive to attract tourists to Hong Kong, including giving out 500,000 air tickets and a million spending vouchers.

Speaking on a radio programme, Lam expressed confidence that airlines would be able to cope with any surge in demand.

"The tickets will be distributed by the three local airlines, so we don't believe capacity will be an issue, because I'm sure that they will make sure they will be able to cope with the additional traffic flow," he told reporters after appearing on the programme.

Lam added that he expects the giveaway would attract some 1.5 million travellers in total, equivalent to around 10 percent of expected arrivals in the coming six months.

Meanwhile, Lam said while passenger traffic is recovering at Chek Lap Kok, a global economy slowdown would affect a rapid return to normality.

"At the moment, our daily passenger traffic is around 80,000, which is around 40 percent of our pre-pandemic levels. We expect that we will reach around 80 percent by the end of this year, similar to other airports around the world," he said.

The airport chief also floated ideas to boost Hong Kong's status as a top aviation hub in the Greater Bay Area, such as building 30 check-in terminals in the area to allow passengers to check in without having to go through Hong Kong's immigration procedures.