Hong Kong International Airport’s passenger numbers fell for the first time in a decade last year, as months of anti-government protests deterred people from coming to the territory.
The airport handled 71.5 million passengers last year, a decline of 4.2 percent from a record 74.6 million the previous year, the Airport Authority of Hong Kong said in a statement.
That meant Hong Kong slipped behind Shanghai and Guangzhou, which processed 76.1 million and 73.4 million domestic and international passengers respectively.
The government and protesters remain at loggerheads in Hong Kong after more than six months of unrest that has damaged businesses from aviation to retail and hospitality.
The airport was at one point in August paralyzed after demonstrators staged a sit-in and blocked people from traveling.
Hong Kong also saw its dominance in international traffic ebb as numbers climbed 4.3 percent to a record 70.6 million at Incheon, which serves South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
Inbound traffic to Hong Kong plunged 48 percent last year to 35.66 million, the first decline since 2009, the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department said.
Separately, Hong Kong has racked up a 10th year as the world’s least-affordable housing market, highlighting the inequality that has helped fuel months of protests.
The territory topped Vancouver and Sydney as the most unaffordable housing market last year, according to a report yesterday by urban planning policy consultancy Demographia.
Hong Kong’s median property price declined slightly to 20.8 times median household income last year, compared to 20.9 times the year before.
The median multiple dropped in all of the 10 cities except Toronto.
Melbourne remained the fourth-most unaffordable housing market, while Toronto and Auckland climbed to sixth place.
The Demographia study covered 309 metropolitan markets across eight countries as of the third quarter of last year.
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