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Macau Land Reclamation for Major Airport Expansion to Begin

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 5 August 2023
2 min to read

This week, the Macau government unveiled a provisional timeline for starting the process of reclaiming land to enlarge the international airport and thus accommodate the rising demand.
Macau International Airport land reclamation
As such, work is set to begin in the second half of 2024 to reclaim additional land off Taipa to allow the airport to expand its taxiways and terminal footprint. A recent aerial view of the site is featured on the Skyscraper City website. This expansion project will enable the airport to serve up to 10 million passengers a year, helping Macau’s move towards diversifying its economy away from a VIP gambler-first mentality and towards a focus on more family-friendly attractions and nongaming business.

The Macau Airport Carriers saw less than 600,000 passengers arriving and departing in 2020 due to China’s “zero-COVID” policy. According to the US Federal Aviation Administration, airport capacity indicates how many passengers can be accommodated comfortably and safely. When an airport exceeds its capacity, operations become increasingly difficult and potentially hazardous.

Macau Airport Carriers

Air Macau, an airline owned by China National Aviation Holding, is the main service provider at Macau International Airport. The Government of Macau has only a 5% stake in the carrier. Air Macau provides flights to 24 places, 18 of which are in mainland China, while the rest are in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other airlines which fly to the area are Air China, Hainan Airlines, Jeju Air, and Shanghai Airlines. Unfortunately, no American airline serves Macau. Therefore, many passengers choose to take a trip to nearby Hong Kong International, which had 71.5 million visitors in 2019. These two cities are linked through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, and the airport of Hong Kong was built on artificial land.

At Hong Kong’s airport, there are three runways that are serviced by well-known airlines such as United, Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Qantas. Unfortunately, due to lack of land, the airport is unable to expand and further develop.

Airport Needs More Land

Construction of Macau’s single runway was done on an area of reclaimed seafront adjacent to Taipa in the Pearl River Delta. The airport terminals and air traffic control towers are situated atop Taipa’s land. Macau government personnel have mentioned that land reclamation efforts are expected to come to fruition between 2024 and 2026. This reclaimed land will be employed for greater “apron” spaces for parking, offloading, and boarding of aircraft, as well as the addition of new hangers for servicing of planes. Furthermore, the expansion will include a broadened taxiway system to reduce congestion to the runway. Construction of the physical structures is anticipated to start around 2026, with Macau International Airport’s expansion anticipated to finish by 2029. This endeavor is projected to magnify the airport’s capacity to 13 million passengers.

Macau government has not provided an estimate of the expenses associated with the airport development plan, which consists of more gates in the terminals and an improved taxiway system to speed up both arrivals and departures.

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Updated: 5 August 2023
2 min to read

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