Slump stalls Macau Airport plans

PLANS to develop Macau International Airport have been postponed due to a dramatic drop in traffic. This year it fell 40 per cent and 60 per cent in October alone. Cargo was under seven million kg (excluding mail) this October compared to a high of 26 million kg in November 2005.

Plans had originally been made to spend US$625 million over the next three to eight years to double the capacity of the airport.

However, a report published this week from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that the plans will have to be put on hold until demand picks up once more.

The report said: “In neighbouring Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has already moved to defer the development of its dedicated freight terminal. If this downturn is protracted, some of Macau’s ambitious development plans, including the expansion of the city’s airport, could join the wait-list.”

Reasons for the traffic slump include the Chinese mainland’s economic slowdown as well as the closure of Bangkok’s two airports by political protestors – Thailand sends Macau 45 flights a week, making it a key market for the city.

Air Macau being the exclusive airline concession holder monopoly was also cited as a cause making competitor Viva Macau “frustrated” in the expansion of its network by a lack of access to markets. “Diversification is the key,” the report said.

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