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Operated by Sociedade do Aeroporto Internacionale de Macau, Macau International Airport is the main gateway to Macau. Hosting regional and international passenger and cargo services from over 10 airlines, the airport is also home to Air Macau.
Location of Macau Airport, Macau
Ground Handlers and Cargo Handlers servicing Macau Airport
753 total articles
40 total articles
The number of Chinese outbound tourists in 2014 will likely exceed 100 million, more than the population of Germany and nearing the population of Japan. Yet this will still account for less than 10% of China's population taking one international trip a year. Importantly too, the growth rate is very high.
These are obviously market-changing opportunities for airlines, especially in North Asia, where most Chinese travel to when going abroad. But in the short term the opportunities are mixed for countries as overseas Chinese tourists shift destination preferences.
This first of a two-part report looks at Chinese demand for travel to Northeast Asia, where growth is generally positive. Japan experienced challenges in late 2012 and early 2013 as political tensions saw visitor arrivals dramatically fall; Japan has since rebounded. South Korea was a beneficiary and continues to maintain momentum; Chinese visitor arrivals are up 57% in the first five months of 2014.
The second part of this China tourism report will look at Southeast Asia, where tourism figures have recently softened.
Jetstar Pacific is resuming expansion as the Vietnamese low-cost carrier enters the international market and grows its A320 fleet. The expansion will see the low profile Jetstar Group affiliate/Vietnam Airlines subsidiary raise its profile and take on its younger and now bigger rival, VietJet Air.
Jetstar Pacific launched services to Macau on 28-Mar-2014, the carrier’s first international destination since it adopted the Jetstar brand in 2008. Jetstar Pacific has largely languished over the last six years, growing its fleet by a paltry one aircraft as other LCCs in the region – including VietJet – have raced past.
The planned expansion of its network and fleet, starting with Macau and the delivery of a sixth A320, will usher in a new era for Jetstar Pacific. There are still opportunities for Jetstar Pacific as Vietnam remains a relatively under-penetrated market. But Jetstar Pacific faces challenges and a potential risk that its expansion could become a case of too little too late.
Kunming-based Lucky Air, one of the many airline affiliates of privately-owned HNA Group, has applied to China's aviation regulator CAAC for permission to expand its business licence from domestic services only to include regional flights to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. Expansion to "regional" markets in greater China is usually the first step for Chinese carriers to eventually open international markets.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in southern China, is already linked to Hong Kong and Taiwan but not Macau. Kunming-Hong Kong is served by Hong Kong Airlines, also affiliated with HNA. Hong Kong sees the most international seats from Kunming while Taipei is the sixth-most popular international route.
Air Macau's history is not illustrious. It has long sat on an effective monopoly as flag carrier, without exploiting its advantage, yet other airlines have been precluded, greatly upsetting the local tourism and hospitality industries.
But signs are emerging the carrier is beginning to take steps to have a more positive role in Asian aviation. For years Air Macau focused as a transit operation for passengers between mainland China and Taiwan, where direct flights were prohibited until mid-last decade. In doing so, it ignored its hometown market, a tiny enclave that quickly grew this century to be Asia's gambling capital. Inertia cost it market opportunities, especially in Southeast Asia, where agile low-cost carriers moved quickly.
Aircraft were wet-leased to part-owner Air China but now Air Macau's fleet is due to expand in a long-overdue bid to support Macau's growth. Target markets are mainland China and North Asia, but the carrier also hopes to make inroads in Southeast Asia. Air Macau is advantaged with Macau's gradual diversification from just gambling, as well as its concession agreement that runs until the turn of the next decade. But there are challenges, operationally and also being a subsidiary of Air China, which has larger priorities across the region.
A proposed regional alliance amongst SkyTeam's Greater China members – Taiwan's China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines – may appear to be a niche strategic move in the small but highly profitable and expanding Taiwan-mainland China market.
Yet the alliance is also indicative of the growing trend for North Asian airlines to combine their strengths against imposing competitors, namely Air China and Cathay Pacific.
The alliance would account for about half of the capacity between China and Taiwan, a valuable market which is continuously expanding under tight control and route delegation. Its share on certain key business routes, like Taipei-Shanghai, would be even higher. Further airline strength and capacity will pressure Hong Kong-based carriers, which once had a healthy business of carrying passengers between China and Taiwan via their hub.
Thai Airways has again adjusted the strategy of its new hybrid unit Thai Smile as the group struggles to determine the ultimate product mix and network. The latest changes include a dedicated business class cabin, which will be introduced in 2013 following delivery of Thai Smile’s seventh A320, and plans to convert the unit into a full subsidiary. Thai Smile also continues to tweak its network, dropping earlier plans to launch services from Bangkok to Hyderabad and Phuket to Singapore.
As Thai Smile represents an experiment for Thai Airways and the overall Asian market, it is not surprising to see almost continual changes to the operation. But all the changes reflect flaws in Thai Smile’s initial business model, which falls between low-cost and full-service. Thai Smile will likely evolve from a hybrid into more of a pure full-service regional subsidiary similar to Singapore Airlines’ SilkAir and Cathay Pacific’s Dragonair.