There were 4.72 million passenger trips via Macau International Airport in the first six months of 2019, a tally up 18 percent when compared to the same period last year, the facility’s operator announced on Friday.
Macau International Airport Co Ltd said most of the passenger trips were generated by the markets of mainland China, Taiwan or Southeast Asia. Amongst these three sources, growth in passenger traffic from mainland China was most rapid, rising 31 percent year-on-year. The respective number of passengers from specific markets was not disclosed in the airport operator’s Friday statement.
The rise in tourist numbers arriving by air might have significance for the city’s gaming industry. Most of Macau’s gamblers are tourists, and research suggests that those tourists arriving by air are more likely to stay overnight. That in turn has been identified by casino firms as a predicator of how likely tourists are to gamble on their trip.
Several new flight routes to mainland China and South Korea were launched in the first half, the airport operator noted in its Friday statement. The newcomers included Shenzhen Airlines’ service to and from Nanchang city in Jiangxi province; Zhejiang Loong Airlines’s route to Enshi in Hubei province; and Jeju Air’s services to and from Muan county in South Korea.
Macau’s airport operator noted that it expected to see passenger traffic “grow steadily” in the second half of this year, with new carriers launching new routes.
As of June 30, the city’s air hub had flights to and from an aggregate of 56 places in, respectively, mainland China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia.
In June alone, passenger throughput at the airport exceeded 780,000 trips, representing a year-on-year increase of 17 percent, the airport operator said. In that month, the number of aircraft landings and take offs rose to more than 6,344, which was 22 percent more than a year earlier.
The hub’s operator said new routes for the second half this year included: JC Cambodia Airlines flying between Macau and Myanmar; Bamboo Airways and VietJet Air with regular flights between Macau and Nha Trang in Vietnam.
The airport operator also mentioned in its Friday statement it would work with airlines on “potential medium- and long-haul” charter routes connecting to Macau.
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”Any reduction in [Macau gaming] tax would be positive for future profits and cash flows, all else equal”
DS Kim, Amanda Cheng and Livy Lyu
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific)