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Changi Airport February passenger traffic falls 32.8% as virus hits travel demand

SINGAPORE Changi Airport handled about 3.5 million passenger movements in February 2020, a 32.8 per cent drop from a year ago, as air travel continued to be impacted by the Covid-19 situation.

The World Health Organization has since declared Covid-19 a pandemic. 

As at March 9, available seat capacity at Changi Airport for March 2020 has fallen by close to 30 per cent of what was originally scheduled due to various flight cancellations, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a press statement on Friday. 

For the month of February, the virus outbreak continued to drive down air travel demand, with all regions except Africa recording declines.

Travel to South-east Asia and North-east Asia was impacted the most, with 1.5 million fewer passenger movements compared to the same period last year, CAG noted. 

Across the board, travel to major destinations declined, sinking 92 per cent in China, 75 per cent in Hong Kong and 46 per cent in South Korea. Within the region, Taiwan saw a 38 per cent decline in passenger movements, while Thailand followed closely behind with a 33 per cent drop. 

Separately, aircraft movements slipped 12.3 per cent to 26,200 landings and take-offs in February, whereas airfreight throughput rose 7.6 per cent to 147,000 tonnes for the month. 

CAG attributed the spike in airfreight throughput in February mainly to the urgent fulfilment of backlogs after a prolonged factory shutdown in China, as well as the extra leap-year day.

Overall, for the first two months this year, passenger traffic at Changi Airport fell 12.9 per cent to 9.4 million, while aircraft movements totalled 59,700, a decrease of 4.7 per cent from the year-ago period. 

In its statement on Friday, CAG said it will continue to run various promotions to support its tenants amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.