The Airport Authority has announced a seventh consecutive month of growth in cargo exports, which it says highlights the improving economic environment of Greater China's leading markets. But despite the strong cargo growth, passenger figures continued to disappoint and will remain a drag on profit growth. The authority, which runs Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, said total cargo throughput amounted to 206,000 tonnes last month, a 25.4 per cent increase over June last year. However, passenger traffic for last month was down about 7 per cent from last year, with about 2.66 million travellers going through the airport. Aircraft movements at Chek Lap Kok last month rose 0.6 per cent, meaning revenue from landing and parking charges and ancillary fees will have been flat. Passenger flights fell 1.1 per cent to 14,485 movements, while cargo flights accounted for 1,885. Chief executive David Pang Ding-jung blamed the fall in passenger throughput on the Tuen Ng Festival falling on a Saturday this year. As a result, there was no long weekend, traditionally an extremely busy period for the airport. He also blamed the football World Cup for keeping people glued to television screens, rather than travelling. 'The decline in passengers for the month doesn't mark a trend and is understandable given the absence of the long weekend and the World Cup. I expect passenger numbers to pick up in July and August,' Mr Pang said. 'Initial passenger numbers in July show a moderate increase [compared with the same month last year].' However, the much-mooted rebound in passenger growth has yet to appear. Since April, the beginning of the authority's fiscal year, passenger numbers have fallen 2.6 per cent year on year. Cargo loaded at the airport has shown strong growth every month so far this year. Last month, exports were up almost 34 per cent, with the strongest growth in air freight traffic to North America, Japan, Taiwan and Europe.