Profits soared at Hong Kong International Airport for the last fiscal year, landing at $725 million.
The number of passengers and flights set new records, rising 4.1 percent to 57.2 million passengers and 4.7 percent to 355,000 flights, respectively, compared to the same period last year, the Airport Authority Hong Kong announced on Wednesday. Both figures surpassed 20-year forecasts.
The airport now plans to add 48 new aircraft parking stands in the next two-and-a-half years to cope with expected growth.
Ranked in 2013 by London research firm Skytrax as the fourth best in the world, the airport declared a final dividend of $567 million to the city’s government.
Cargo output also rebounded as the total cargo handled rose 2.9 percent to 4.04 million tons, ranking Hong Kong as the busiest cargo airport in the world for the third consecutive year.
“The revenue growth was largely driven by strong air traffic and increased passenger spending at retail concessions,” Stanley Hui Hon-chung, the CEO of the Airport Authority, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we expect air traffic and passenger spending to continue its growth momentum, resulting in a healthy increase in revenue.”
The airport has been at the center of international media attention over the past week as Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who leaked details of the U.S. National Security Agency's widespread surveillance program, prepared to depart from the city for asylum in another country. On Sunday, Snowden left on a flight after Hong Kong authorities said the U.S. government made errors on its documents calling for a provisional arrest warrant on the former NSA contractor, who has been charged with espionage.