Macau International Airport has retroactively cut fees charged to airlines for landings and take-offs between February and this month to lessen the impact of coronavirus at the global gambling hub.
The total reductions are approximately $2.4 million over the three months, according to Inside Asian Gaming. Last month, Macau’s airport said it was “hit hard” by the coronavirus pandemic in Q1 of this year.
It is hoped that under the current severe operating environment, we will be able to overcome the difficult times with airlines,” the Macau airport said in a recent statement. The fee reductions will also “encourage … airlines to continue providing air transportation services and to express our support for the resumption of flights in the future.”
Landing fees charged to airlines at the airport range from $99.20 to $16,73.80, Inside Asian Gaming said. The charges vary based on how much a plane weighs and how often an airline lands.
Last month, Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) saw an 80 percent decline, when comparing year versus year. GGR could be worse in April, JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd has projected.
“We wouldn’t be surprised to see Macau printing near-zero GGR until the restrictions at the Guangdong border are lifted,” JP Morgan said in recent projections. The dismal gaming levels and reduction in non-gambling travel continue to impact the number of flights going to Macau.
Macau Landings, Take-Offs Plummet
The number of landings and take-offs at the Macau airport have plummeted in recent weeks. There are less than 10 a day, with fewer than 300 in April, the airport said.
Daily movements dropped to less than 35 in March, the airport report adds. The month saw 1,050 total at the Macau airport.
In contrast, Macau’s airport saw 6,343 flight movements in March 2019. Also, there were close to 205 movements a day in March 2019.
Altogether, during last year over 9.6 million passengers flew in or out of Macau’s airport.
The airport’s passenger and flight movements declined 45 percent and 55 percent, respectively in the first quarter. “Aviation industry demand has slumped drastically,” the airport statement adds.
The company that manages the airport saw net profit in 2019 after taxes totaling $77,971,585, according to The Macau Post Daily. But last month, 24 Asian airlines canceled flights to and from Macau because of the pandemic.
Many Chinese Flights Could Resume in May
In May, Chinese airlines are likely to increase flights. There is still concern from government officials that foreign visitors are bringing new cases of coronavirus into China. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in America, US airlines temporarily suspended flights from China in January.
Glenn McCartney recently reported in Casino.org that Macau’s gaming industry was back in business after temporary closings of casinos for two weeks. But operations are still far from fully back, and will not be for some time, he cautions.
The devastating toll the coronavirus has taken on the Asian gaming enclave will continue to be felt, even as new health protocols are put in place and wary gamblers slowly return to play, McCartney predicts.