Macau International Airport is expecting a surge during March in the monthly number of its commercial flights, with most of them from and to places in mainland China, the airport operator has told GGRAsia.
The transport hub is likely to handle 1,166 commercial flight movements in March, with 585 of them inbound, said Macau International Airport Co Ltd, a body also known locally as CAM. It cited applications submitted by airlines.
For the whole of February, the airport handled only 594 inbound and outbound commercial flight movements, or approximately 21 per day, CAM noted. Last month’s aggregate fell short of CAM’s initial estimate, which had been for approximately 40 daily commercial flight movements.
February this year included Chinese New Year, a festival that in pre-pandemic times has been a peak season for mainland Chinese tourists to visit Macau. But inbound tourism in February this year was of modest volume, falling 65 percent year-on-year during the seven-day break.
That coincided with pre-holiday calls by mainland authorities for citizens to avoid leaving their home area, as a precaution against spreading Covid-19.
The mainland is currently the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau. A majority of the destinations served by Macau’s airport in February was in mainland China, according to CAM.
They included: Shanghai, by respectively Air Macau, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines; and Hangzhou, served by Air Macau and Xiamen Airlines.
Other mainland cities linked to in February were: Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xiamen, Changzhou, Ningbo, Taiyuan, Nanning, Jieyang, Yiwu, Qingdao and Hefei, all via Air Macau.
The Chinese cities of Jinjiang and Fuzhou – both in Fujian province – were also among the February flight destinations, and were served by Xiamen Airlines.
The other destination covered in February was Taipei in Taiwan, via services run respectively by Air Macau, EVA Air, Starlux Airlines and Tiger Taiwan, according to CAM. In that month, Macau’s airport has also handled charter flights to Manila, run by Philippine Airlines.
CAM anticipates the destinations to be served during March will be largely the same as in February.
With effect from February 23, no city in mainland China was any longer considered by the Macau authorities to be ‘medium risk’ for transmission of Covid-19 infection. As a result, no visitor from mainland China has of that date, been automatically required to complete quarantine upon arrival in Macau.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, said on the sidelines of a Tuesday event in the city, there was “hope” Macau’s March daily visitor tally “will be maintained at about 20,000 a day, and… improve… later on”.
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Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC