Start-up carrier Air Macau is negotiating a direct link between Macau and Hong Kong with ferry companies in a bid to boost its floundering business, according to the airline. Market development executive Dominic Ching said the firm hoped to strike a deal with either the Shun Tak Holdings, which runs Far East Jetfoils, or with Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings) Co, which runs the TurboCat service. He said passengers would have the option to buy discounted ferry tickets when paying for their air tickets, as an incentive to get travellers to the Macau airport, to compete with airlines flying from Hong Kong. The carrier flies to Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Taipei and Kaohsiung, and will start services to Wuhan late next month. Its three aircraft have been more than half empty since the airline inaugurated services at the launch of the Portuguese enclave's new airport in November. Last week, it was forced to slash ticket prices on some routes. The airport itself is also struggling to secure business. Only TransAsia and Eva Airways of Taiwan operate scheduled services, along with Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and a handful of Chinese carriers. Industry analysts criticised the operators of the new airport for the high landing charges and passenger taxes that airlines must bear, and the lack of facilities to attract travellers to the enclave. The main point of criticism is the absence of a ferry terminal connected to the airport to shuttle passengers to Hong Kong and Zhuhai. That had been promised on opening, but is still months from completion. Mr Ching said a ferry terminal at the airport would go a long way in helping Air Macau. Until then, Hong Kong-bound passengers would have to make their way to the main ferry terminal near the centre of town. Many taxi drivers have shunned the airport, leaving passengers waiting for some time before arriving at their hotels.