HK$4b upgrade aims to boost Macau airport capacity
CAM, the operator of Macau International Airport, proposes to invest HK$4 billion to upgrade the airport's runway capacity and double the passenger terminal by 2011 as the former enclave's burgeoning gambling and tourism industry boosts air transport demand, according to a report.
A five-year master plan drawn up by Dutch consultancy firm Naco said the airport could reclaim land to add 19 aircraft parking spaces, double the passenger terminal area and increase the runway capacity 50 per cent by extending the taxi-way and adding two exits, the Chinese-language Macao Daily News reported.
The expansion was still pending government approval, the report said, citing CAM's logistics and strategic planning director Antonio Rato. CAM declined to comment on the report.
The expansion would allow runway movements to increase to 30 per hour from the present 20 to 22, the report said.
'There will be a lot of infrastructure to be done ... Sands and other casinos are under construction and with Macau aiming to be a convention centre, the demand for air cargo will be staggering,' said Adam Tang, chairman of Macau Air Freight Forwarding Association.
The airport's air cargo throughput surpassed its designed capacity in 2003 and some has to spill over to Hong Kong or Guangzhou International Airport, according to the airport's website.
'During peak seasons, such as September through November, we have to deploy freight forwarders in Hong Kong or in the Pearl River Delta. Sometimes we have to resort to seaborne transport,' Mr Tang said.
The airport processed 220,572 tonnes of airfreight, a drop of 3 per cent from 2005.
Ten carriers including Air Macau, Xiamen Airlines and Eva Air launched 51,409 aircraft movements last year, a 13 per cent rise on 2005 while passenger numbers grew 17 per cent 4.98 million.
Nearly half of the passengers going through the airport were in transit from or to Taiwan.