Govt asks Beijing to allow airport land reclamation: aviation chief

2017-07-26 08:05     Comment:0

Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) President Simon Chan Weng Hong said yesterday that the local government has requested the central government’s permission to reclaim land in the waters between the local airport’s two taxiways that link the runway and the apron.

Chan made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launching ceremony of the Macau-Beijing-Lisbon route by Beijing Capital Airlines at the airport in Taipa.

The Macau Civil Aviation Authority released the revised version of a development plan for the airport for the next 20 years in January.

The revised development plan forecasts the number of passengers to reach seven million by 2019, 11 million by 2037, and 15 million by 2040. 

The number of passenger arrivals and departures broke the six million mark in late November last year, the airport’s designed maximum capacity.

The plan lays out what additional facilities the airport plans to build, as well as planned changes to its existing facilities, in three phases, to cope with the rising number of passengers.

According to the revised development plan, which can be accessed on the AACM website, the civil aviation regulator began drafting the development plan in 2010, the draft version of which was completed in 2011.

According to the website, the regulator later revised the draft version, and the revised version was completed at the end of 2015.

The development of the airport will need land reclamation of 172 hectares – 1.72 square kilometres, which will raise the total area of the airport to 346 hectares, according to the plan.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Chan said that the local government applied to the central government in February for the planned land reclamation, adding that the central government was still studying the plan for the local airport’s expansion.

Chan also said that the central government was collecting opinions from the relevant ministries about the local airport’s development plan, adding that the central government will reply to its local counterpart based on the various ministries’ opinions. Afterwards,
the local government will modify the development plan based on the opinions conveyed by the ministries, he said.

Chan said that there was no timetable for when the land reclamation project would get off the ground. 

Pointing out that the number of passengers stands now at more than six million, Chan said land reclamation was the only way for the local airport to expand.

The airport started operating in November 1995.

Meanwhile, Chan also told reporters that an international consultancy study on the future of the local civil aviation sector was slated to be completed in September. However, he was quick to add that the findings of the study would not be made public right away as they would be followed by more research on the matter.

Chan hinted that the future concession of Air Macau, which expires in 2020, was one of the civil aviation sector’s issues that needed to be clarified. He declined to elaborate.

Chan said, however, that an airline was not like a supermarket that could be opened and closed at any time.

Hong Kong media reported recently that business tycoon Pansy Ho Chiu King was interested in opening a low-cost airline in Macau. This would require the government to terminate Air Macau’s current monopoly as a locally incorporated airline.

Macau Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) President Simon Chan Weng Hong speaks to reporters at the airport in Taipa yesterday. Photo: Tony Wong


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