Following the launch of Taiwanese budget airline Tiger Airways on the Taipei-Macau and Kaohsiung-Macau routes at the end of last year, another Taiwanese budget airline, V-Air, launched a route to Macau on 10th April. Early last year, Macau signed a Macau-Taiwan air services agreement, with related proceedings concluded at the end of October and effective immediately. Just before the new air services agreement was effective, the two airlines - Tiger Airways and V-Air - were also ready to operate their routes to Macau. The market hopes the competition from Taiwanese budget airlines can attract more Taiwanese visitors to Macau.
In addition, China Southern Airlines launched Macau-Wuhan flights on 3rd April, providing three two-way flights between the two cities every week on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The new route is the first route that China Southern, the biggest airline in China, has launched in Macau. It is also the first route connecting the Special Administrative Region to Wuhan. Following the launch, Macau residents can also travel to Moscow in Russia or San Francisco in the United States by flying to Wuhan as a layover.
In another development, until the end of the year Air Macau announced that it expects to expand its fleet to 17 airplanes from the current 15, with a target of 24 by 2018. In the first two months of the year, Macau International Airport passenger volume surpassed 480,000 and aircraft movements exceeded 4,000, marking a 14 per cent increase and a six per cent increase, respectively, compared to the same period of last year. Southeast Asia routes continued to perform well with 170,000 passengers recorded in the first two months, while the Taiwan market posted 120,000 passengers, with the two markets recording a 22 per cent and 13 per cent year-on-year increase, respectively.