The global financial crisis has cut passenger and cargo flow at Hong Kong International Airport, which will hurt its bottom line. In particular, the drop in cargo has widened month by month since August, showing clearly the worsening impact of the downturn. In tonnage of cargo handled, the airport saw a 3.9 per cent year-on-year drop in August, a 7.5 per cent drop in September, a 9.2 per cent drop in October and an 18.7 per cent drop last month. In terms of passengers, the airport saw a 5.3 per cent year-on-year drop in August, a 4.7 per cent drop in September, a 1.4 per cent drop in October and a 5.6 per cent drop last month. In contrast, from January to July, before the financial crisis was fully felt, the airport - the world's fifth busiest in passenger numbers - enjoyed positive year-on-year growth in passenger and cargo handled. On November 26, the Airport Authority's chief executive, Stanley Hui Hon-chung, said he expected traffic at the airport to decline further. Raymond Lai Wing-cheung, the authority's finance and investment boss, said at the time: 'We expect a continued decline in air traffic, which will inevitably affect our financial performance for the second half of 2008/09 and well into the next financial year.' Meanwhile, reports last month said Cathay Pacific might delay completion of its third cargo terminal, worth an estimated HK$4.8 billion, because the airline wanted to preserve cash amid the slowdown. Mainland airports are also suffering from the financial crisis. In a domino effect, mainland airports were seeking more than 4 billion yuan (HK4.5 billion) in unpaid fees from airlines, which was hurting the airports' operations, China Central Television reported late last month. Mainland airlines incurred combined losses of 4.3 billion yuan in the first 10 months of this year as passenger and freight volumes declined, the state broadcaster reported. About 70 per cent of the revenue of mainland airports comes from fees paid by airlines.