Macao’s flagship carrier Air Macau will continue its aviation monopoly for three more years, or until the SAR’s new air transport law is enacted, the Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) confirmed on Monday.
In June, the Legislative Assembly passed the draft of a government-sponsored bill that would liberalise Macao’s civil aviation sector – allowing other airlines to establish bases at Macao’s international airport.
The Civil Aviation Activity Law was expected to have been enacted by November, when Air Macau’s previous concession expired. However, as the legislation is still being processed, the government has extended the airline’s contract.
Air Macau was initially granted a 25-year monopoly for the transport of passengers, mail and cargo in 1995. The deal was set to end in 2020 but was extended for three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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“The SAR Government reiterates that the concession contract does not hinder foreign airlines [from flying] to Macao,” a statement from AACM read.
“The airport concessionaire is actively working on their marketing programmes to attract more mainland and foreign airlines to come to Macao.”
Back in 2019, low-cost carrier Air Asia – which has been flying to and from Macao for almost 20 years – made it clear it was keen to establish a base in the SAR, with planes and staff permanently stationed in Macao.
The airline, which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, already has several dozen bases around Asia. It also has a number of subsidiary, affiliate and joint venture airlines, including Thai AirAsia and Philippines AirAsia