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Macau Aviation Industry Facing Severe Turbulence During Pandemic

An Air Macau A321 (Photo: Melv_L – MACASR [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)])

According to Macau’s local media, Air China, the parent company of Air Macau, revealed Air Macau suffered a loss of $67.4 million in the first half of the year. The Macau-based carrier recorded a profit of $10.4 million in the same time last year. Earlier, Air China reported a loss of $1.38 billion as well.

As a result of the coronavirus, Air Macau revealed it served 372,800 passengers in the first half of the year with an annual decrease of nearly 80%. However, most of the passengers travelled in the first quarter of the year, and there were only 1,900 travelers in the second quarter of the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the local media, Air Macau has carried out measures to cut costs; airline staff, for example, had a seven-day salary reduction. Air Macau owns a fleet of 22 aircraft and provides regional services throughout Asia, such as to China, Japan and South Korea.

In the meantime, Macau International Airport is also facing troubles. In 2019, the airport experienced its most successful year with a 9.6 million passenger volume. According to the airport, while passenger volume until June was 940,000, only three digits of passenger volume were recorded since April. The figure showed 929 passengers were recorded in May. The number of passengers in June rebounded, but the upward trend hasn’t been maintained. In July, the volume of flight movement was deceased by 11.7 percent compared to June. In the first seven months, flight movements dropped by 77.5% year-over-year.

Macau Airport was found in 1995. The airport celebrates its Silver Jubilee and has considered building its second terminal; the brand new terminal is expected to handle 2 million passengers annually in the future. The airport served 34 airlines and 59 cities across Asia before the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases in Macau remained extremely low with only 46 cases in the former Portuguese colony, but global travel restrictions resulted in a huge impact on the city as the number of tourists has dropped 99% in the second quarter. The travel industry is a lifeline for the city as Macau is a favorite hotspot for southeast Asian tourists, such as those from Japan, Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Macau’s government is currently cooperating with Chinese conglomerates, such as Alibaba, Tencent and Air Macau, to roll out a $50 million program to bolster the travel industry and economy. The new program is expected to entice more mainland Chinese to visit the “Las Vegas of the East.”

Pete Ainsley


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