Hong Kong airport busiest in Asia, 3rd worldwide in 2014

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s international airport remained Asia's busiest for international passenger traffic in 2014 while ranking third globally.

Around 61.8 million passengers on international flights passed through the airport -- also known as Chek Lap Kok -- last year, the South China Morning Post reported Friday, citing figures from Airports Council International.

"We are very proud that [Hong Kong International Airport] is one of the very few airports in the world that ranks near the top in both passenger and cargo volumes," the report quoted Hong Kong's Airport Authority chief executive, Fred Lam Tin-fuk, as saying.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s airport surpassed London's Heathrow to become the busiest in the world for international passenger traffic.

Dubai International was visited by approximately 68.9 million passengers in the 12 months leading up to September, whereas Heathrow recorded around 67.8 million as of Dec. 22.

In Hong Kong, a debate over whether to build a third runway remains ongoing, whereas Singapore is accelerating the expansion of its Changi Airport -- ranked sixth in 2014 -- amid plans to increase the number of commercial runways from two to four within two decades.

Singapore's Changi dropped from fifth to sixth place in 2014, overtaken by Amsterdam.

Whereas Hong Kong experienced 6.1 percent growth, Singapore's airport processed 53.2 million passengers, an increase of 2 percent.

The slow growth has been blamed on damage to travel confidence following the tragic loss of two Malaysia Airlines flights, as well as political unrest in Thailand and tighter travel restrictions on tourism from mainland China.

Meanwhile, Chek Lap Kok was visited by an additional 10 million passengers in four years, with the increase believed to be a result of a rise in Asia’s middle classes, according to the report. It is also headed toward cementing its rank as busiest airport worldwide in terms of cargo volume.

The survey did not take into account domestic traffic.

Among Airports Council International’s top 10 for 2014, only Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport experienced a decrease in growth, with a 9.4 percent drop in the number of travelers.

The biggest growth, meanwhile, was recorded at Ataturk International Airport in Turkey’s Istanbul. Making it onto the list after moving up from eleventh place, it underwent a growth of 11 percent in the past year.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency