Further infrastructure improvements are to be made at Macau International Airport to boost passenger traffic capacity to 7.5 million movements per year, said the facility’s operator in a Thursday statement.
“In 2018, a number of infrastructure projects is expected to be completed, including the north terminal building expansion project. Upon completion, the airport capacity will increase to 7.5 million passengers per annum,” said Macau International Airport Co Ltd, a body known locally as CAM.
The firm additionally said that an all-time record throughput of passengers in 2017 had been achieved via “the joint efforts and close cooperation among each of our business partners, to cope with the Macau SAR government policy to build up Macau into a ‘world centre of tourism and leisure’ and make full use of the airport’s advantages”. That was a reference to a local government policy aspiration aiming to diversify the source markets for Macau’s tourism sector beyond Greater China. The aspiration was mentioned in the city’s first Five-Year Development Plan, launched in September 2016.
The majority of gamblers in Macau’s casinos are tourists to the city. Some tourists arriving by air are likely to be overnight visitors, a segment generally regarded as of higher value to the local casino industry than are day trippers. But several investment analysts have said that Macau’s headline visitor numbers historically are not directly correlated to overall gaming demand, as gross gaming revenue in the Macau market has been typically skewed to high-end play.
The final figure for Macau International Airport’s record-breaking annual passenger volume in 2017 amounted to 7.16 million arrivals and departures, said the facility’s operator in the Thursday announcement.
CAM had earlier stated that the previous annual record of 6.6 million such passenger movements – achieved last year – had already been surpassed by Christmas Eve, December 24.
The 2017 traveller tally was an increase of approximately 8.5 percent year-on-year. Last year also saw 58,000 aircraft movements, representing an increase of 2.8 percent on 2016, said the operator.
CAM said the facility – opened in 1995, four years before the handover of Macau from Portuguese administration to that of China – was now host to 29 airlines, connecting Macau to 46 destinations in mainland China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. The company said passenger traffic from routes to and from Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia – i.e., excluding Greater China – accounted for 43 percent of the total passenger volume of the airport.
The air hub operator said that in 2017, five new airlines – which it named as Lanmei Airlines Co Ltd; PT Indonesia AirAsia – a unit of AirAsia; Beijing Capital Airlines – a unit of Hainan Airlines; Cambodia’s JC International Airlines Co Ltd; and a unit of Russian air carrier Royal Flight – had started services via Macau.
CAM stated: “In 2017, the Taiwan [passenger] market remained stable while the Southeast Asia market and mainland China market increased by 10 percent and 15 percent respectively. There was a growth of 32 percent in passengers taking low-cost airlines.”
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”So far the Macau government has never failed us. And I think we have always been rewarded appropriately for the amount of investment”
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
Chairman and chief executive of Melco Resorts and Entertainment