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Tourism chief welcomes competition among airlines

Macau’s top tourism official welcomed competition among airlines using the local airport, saying that it was “always advantageous to have more competition” as it would raise service quality.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:48 am

Macau’s top tourism official welcomed competition among airlines using the local airport, saying that it was “always advantageous to have more competition” as it would raise service quality.

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes made the remarks when asked by reporters about this week’s announcement by the Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) that it had decided not to renew the monopoly concession of Air Macau when it expires in November next year.

Senna Fernandes also said that her office was open to work with all airlines serving Macau. “We are always open to work with any airline,” she said, including those in Hong Kong, adding that her office was having “good relations” with Air Macau, “but we are also working with other airlines that fly to Macau.”

The MGTO director talked to the media on the sidelines of a climate change seminar at the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) hosted by government-owned broadcaster TDM

According to an AACM statement released on Wednesday, Air Macau’s monopoly concession (“exclusive right”) as a locally incorporated airline will not be extended when it expires next year.

The statement said that Air Macau had already been informed of the decision, “but Air Macau will continue to operate flights as an air operator registered in Macau.”

The statement pointed out that the local aviation regulator hired an international consultancy in 2017 to study the future development of Macau’s air transport market.

The statement underlined that according to Article 117 of the Macau Basic Law the local government’s civil aviation policy decisions require the central government’s authorisation.

The statement emphasised that the operations of foreign airlines in Macau are not restricted by Air Macau’s current monopoly concession.

Ill-fated locally incorporated budget airline Viva Macau operated flights between 2005 and 2010 as a sub-concession of Air Macau.

Air Macau started operating in November 1995 when the local airport opened. Air China has a two-thirds stake in Air Macau.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:48 am

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