The new Macau-Phuket and return daily direct flights marked the airline’s fourth Thailand route and seventh international destination departing from Macau, Celia Lao CEO of AirAsia Hong Kong and Macau told the press at the launch event in Macau yesterday.
The CEO explained that the budget carrier had been trying to get slots to operate a Macau-Phuket service for years, but was granted a slot a Phuket International Airport only last year, given the popularity of the destination, reported the Macau Daily Times. (See story here.)
According to the airline’s database, travellers’ demand for flights from Macau to Phuket is high enough that another daily flight could be added, the report noted.
“We always try [to apply for slots]. Not only for Macau but for many other destinations,” said Ms Lao, adding that it is also dependent on cooperation with different airports and the availability of airport and flight slots.
Sirima Chindamat, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hong Kong office, who also attended yesterday’s launch event in Macau, said that passengers flying from Macau to Phuket via Bangkok amounted to some 70,000.
The director shared that Macau and Hong Kong remains a potential market to Thailand, describing them as “quality tourists.”
“We would love to see 8% more at least, especially with AirAsia’s new route, we are positive to get this number,” Chindamat told the Times.
Ms Lao also echoed that the chance of adding another Macau-Phuket route is higher than the addition of a Hong Kong-Phuket route, as Hong Kong airport’s runway is often maximally occupied.
Currently, Hong Kong operates five direct flights per day to Phuket, with AirAsia flying the route once a day, reported the Times.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia is considering launching three to four new routes to Macau this year
AirAsia group is the biggest non-Chinese airline operating in the territory as it operates a total of 72 weekly flights, and remains the second biggest operator in Macau.