Ongoing discussions between Macau International Airport (MIA) and its airline partners have focused on when regular services might resume. While the coronavirus pandemic has severely curtailed air passenger traffic to and from Macao, Macau International Airport Co. Ltd Executive Committee Chairman Deng Jun and members of the operator’s management have discussed with partners the broader prospects for commercial aviation once the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic ends.
The airport operator says Deng held meetings through early March with Air Macau Executive Chairman and General Manager Chen Hong, EVA Air Macau Branch General Manager Jeff Chiao, and Air Asia Chief Executive Officer in Hong Kong and Macao Celia Lao. At a fourth meeting, Deng considered the pandemic and its repercussions with Menzies Macau Airport Services Ltd General Manager Mark Campbell.
The airport operator has also held meetings with other stakeholders, including logistics companies and business aviation service providers.
In a written statement, the MIA operator said Deng discussed approaches to attract potential passengers to Macao’s airport with Chen of Air Macau. Once the pandemic is over, the appeal of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area could be used in emerging markets to tempt passengers, Deng suggested.
He added that the airport operator was in a trough and its recovery committee, the Epidemic Prevention Contingency Working Group, was planning preferential policies for airlines and tenants at the airport.
The operator’s view is that the industry will recover, with core markets bouncing back first. However, the severity of the pandemic in Mainland China, Japan and the Republic of Korea meant it may take longer for air services linking these destinations with Macao to return to normal once the pandemic was over, Deng added.
Chen said Air Macau had worked hard to find new markets. The airline had increased its load factor by almost 80 percent in the past five years, along the way making improvements to service standards and management.
Hope in the air
At the beginning of March Deng told EVA Air management about possible incentives for airlines using Macao’s airport as part of a broader, post-pandemic development plan. Being among the top three airlines by market share in Macao’s civil aviation market for 24 years, EVA Air was doing its best to maintain daily services between Macao and Taipei, noted Chiao.
Deng told Air Asia’s Lao that he hoped the partners could work together to quickly restore air services and tap new markets when the pandemic ends. Air Asia is one of the top three airlines by market share in Macao and Lao said she was confident that Air Asia services between Macao and Southeast Asia could return to normal swiftly.
In meeting Menzies Macau Airport Services, the ground services provider at Macao’s airport, the airport operator said Mainland China authorities and the Macao SAR Government would push favourable policies to help boost the economy after the crisis. Campbell said Menzies was using the lull in work to update the skills and training of its staff. He voiced a belief that the airport can handle more air cargo while the pandemic lasts.
| Airport starts construction of passenger terminal south extension|
Macau International Airport has broken ground on the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) South Extension on 11 March. The extension will see another 17,000 square metres of floor area added to the airport.
The completed design includes more space for departures and three new passenger boarding bridges that will help increase capacity from 7.8 million passengers a year to 10 million passengers annually upon scheduled completion in the middle of next year.