The Hong Kong International Airport is heading for a record year as passenger traffic and cargo throughput post double-digit growth compared with last year. Passenger throughput last month surged 15.8 per cent to 2.76 million, compared with November last year, when traffic was depressed after the September 11 attacks. The latest figures were up 5.1 per cent over 2000, when the industry was booming. Cargo throughput was 253,000 tonnes, the highest monthly figure ever. This is 24.1 per cent higher than in November last year and 18.8 per cent above the 213,000 tonnes recorded in the same month in 2000. 'We are back to the path [of growth] again,' an Airport Authority spokesman said. 'We had very strong cargo growth for the whole year. We saw a big increase in demand from the [United States] for exports. We also saw promising growth in imports, especially from Japan and China in which some of them are for re-exports.' Outbound cargo (exports) increased 27.3 per cent last month to 161,000 tonnes, with demand coming from North America surging 49 per cent. Inbound cargo (imports) rose 19 per cent to 92,000 tonnes as shipments from Japan climbed 42 per cent and those from China soared 66 per cent. The authority expects annual cargo throughput will be 2.46 million tonnes while passenger traffic will reach 34 million by the end of the month. Hongkong Air Cargo Terminals, the largest air-cargo handling firm in Hong Kong, handled 1.74 million tonnes from January to last month, up 20.4 per cent from the same period last year.