AirAsia is waiting for details of the government’s policies and conditions on setting up a base to open its own airline in Macau, the low-cost carrier’s CEO for Hong Kong and Macau Celia Lao Sio Wun said on Tuesday.
Lao made the remarks while speaking to reporters during a Macau media familiarisation visit to AirAsia’s headquarters at Kuala Lumpur airport.
The airline’s founder Tony Fernandes said in March that he was interested in setting up a base in Macau as Air Macau’s monopoly ends in November next year.
“[Fernandes] knows about the development in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), he knows about the Macau government’s involvement, so he’s positive about it, and is interested to have an airline there, which makes sense to do,” Lao said.
She said that when the Macau government releases more details about its aviation industry’s development plan, AirAsia would propose to the government its Macau base plan.
“The direction is to have an AirAsia airline [based in Macau], but it needs to be both ways, we first need to know what the government’s direction is so that we can complement them,” she said, pointing out that opening up the industry would allow competition, which for customers would result in more choices based on price and quality.
Lao said that for the company’s 15th anniversary in Macau this year, it is currently offering flights at 115 patacas for all Macau destinations.
According to Lao, AirAsia in Macau started off with just one flight per day from Bangkok and now operates 91 flights a week to 11 destinations in three countries – Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
“This is quite a miracle because when we launched our flights, the gaming industry wasn’t opened up yet, so it really relied on Macau’s own attractiveness to get tourists to fly there,” Lao pointed out.
According to the Macau Post Daily, concerning the GBA infrastructure development, she said that the company was looking to bring back its Macau-Penang route, and was also considering launching a Japanese destination, possibly Nagoya, for Macau.
According to Lao, AirAsia already has 27 bases with its nine airlines.
“Macau flies to 11 destinations, there are 16 other destinations, so when we have a base in Macau, there’s a chance we can connect these other destinations with Macau,” she said.
Read more about AirAsia through its CEO Celia Lao here.