“We estimate that the number of visitors visiting the [Macau International] Airport will increase by 8 per cent over this year’s summer holiday in comparison to last year’s,” divulged Eric Fong, director of the marketing department of the Macau International Airport Co., Ltd (CAM).
Fong revealed that visitor numbers in July grew by 9 per cent, while the first week of August saw a 10 per cent year-on-year uptick.
The director said that the number of flights, on the other hand, had slightly decreased by 1 per cent year-on-year for the first half of the year.
“The slight decrease [in the number of flights] is due to the arrangement of the flights and also the limited parking areas for airplanes,” said Fong. “But we still have close communications with flight companies and that’s why the number of visitors still increased despite the decrease in flight numbers.”
According to the director, there are currently an average of 160 flights arriving and departing the Macau airport per day.
When asked about the progress of the airport expansion, Fong said that the additional area has already been set up at the southern section of the airport, saying that the added part would be gradually brought into operation, but the exact schedule could only be announced at a later date.
Last month, the president of the Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) revealed that the MSAR Government had asked the central government for permission to reclaim land for the expansion of the city’s airport.
Direct flight to Jakarta
Prior to the inaugural flight ceremony yesterday, the CEO of AirAsia Hong Kong and Macau, Celia Lao Sio Wun said that the demand for flights between Indonesia and Macau has been growing in recent years.
“Around 80 per cent of AirAsia clients are tourists,” said Ms. Lao. “But there is also one part that are clients for business, like businessmen from Indonesia who like to come to Macau to discuss MICE [meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions] or other business.”
According to the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), as cited by CAM, the number of visitors from Indonesia to Macau posted a yearly growth of 11.7 per cent to 182,467 in 2016.
Yesterday, the new route held its debut flight, carrying 162 passengers from Jakarta to Macau and 151 passengers on the return flight.
The CEO said the first flight from Jakarta to Macau was mostly filled with Indonesians visiting Macau, while on the Macau-Jakarta flight, half of the total number of passengers were Chinese tourists visiting Jakarta.
As such, the five-hour flight would not only benefit residents of the two regions, but also those in the Pearl River Delta area, Ms. Lao opined.
The new flight will be available three times per week, utilising a 180-seat Airbus A320-200, with the flight frequency to be increased to four times per week starting September 1.
Jakarta is one of the Southeast Asian cities which houses a representative office of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
When asked whether more flights would be set up in the future, the CEO said the overall market response to the new flight will be considered, remarking that the company has the capacity to add more flights, but that more promotions will be needed in the preliminary stages.
The Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Hong Kong and Macau, Tri Tharyat, commented that the new flight route would allow more tourists to visit both sides, as well as providing more opportunities for trade and business.
Although the number of Indonesian citizens visiting Macau has grown in the past years, Tharyat said that “there is still a limited number of Macau tourists visiting Indonesia,” noting that: “I’m sure with the direct flight, the option is very much opened now”.