The Macau government has signed off on a three-year extension of Air Macau’s concession contract, ensuring it will remain the sole Macau-based carrier until at least 2023.
The extension, originally announced in May, comes at the end of a 25-year concession granted in 1995. The government had previously hinted at ending the exclusive concession in favor of liberalization – not unlike the move away from STDM’s casino monopoly in 2002 – but those plans were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The concession contract of Air Macau will reach its expiry on 8 November 2020,” the government said in a Wednesday statement.
“Facing the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia worldwide, the aviation sector is adversely affected and will take a considerable period of time to recover. During this period, it is necessary to maintain the stability of the industry operations.
“To ensure that Air Macau will continue to provide continual and stable services to the Macau residents as well as to the visitors, the Macau SAR Government extended the concession contract of Air Macau for three years.”
Air Macau recorded a 37% year-on-year fall in profits to MOP$127.6 million (US$15.9 million) in 2019, but is expected to fall to a loss in 2020 on reduced flights due to COVID-19.
Macau International Airport reported 30 average daily aircraft movements in September compared with an average of over 210 each day last year.