Macao SAR and Malaysia liberalized fifth freedom rights

The Civil Aviation Authority of Macao SAR (AACM) and the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia (MOT Malaysia) held air consultations in Putrajaya on 20 April 2006 to discuss the enhancement of the air transport market between the two places. The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and generated satisfactory results with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding. The signatories were the President of AACM, Mr. Chan Weng Hong and the Secretary General of MOT Malaysia, Dato’ Hj. Muhd Safaruddin Hj. Muhd Sidek. The bilateral air services agreement and the old Memorandum of Understanding between Macao and Malaysia were signed in 1995. According to the old Memorandum, the capacity was limited to 7 flights per week by each side and the number of beyond points was limited to 2. With the new Memorandum, it creates more advantageous conditions to the development of both passenger and air cargo market between the two sides: no limitation on frequency, the type of aircraft used and the number of beyond points, and exercise of full fifth freedom rights. Malaysia has always been a popular tourist destination for both the Macao and Hong Kong residents. With the success of the Macau International Airport in attracting the low cost carrier, AirAsia, to operate services between Macao and Kuala Lumpur, the air transport market between the two places has been enhanced. Together with the opening up of the individual traveling market from the mainland, in addition to the increase in the number of Macao residents traveling to Malaysia, the number of people from Hong Kong and the mainland who visit Malaysia via Macao has also increased. On the other hand, the number of tourists from Malaysia traveling to Macao has greatly risen. In accordance with the data from the Statistics and Census Bureau, the number of tourists from Malaysia coming to Macao was increased from 48,391 in 2004 to 98,450 in 2005, a rise of more than a double. The 2005 figure also ranked the highest in terms of the number of tourists from Southeast Asian countries to Macao. Due to the fact that the old capacity no longer met the demand, AACM and MOT Malaysia met in November last year in Macao to discuss the development of the air transport market between the two places. Both sides agreed that there was a need to renew the old Memorandum of Understanding. At present, AirAsia provides 2 daily flights between Macao and Kuala Lumpur. The airline is planning to operate 1 daily flight between Macao and Kota Kinabalu starting July this year. In addition to government officials from AACM and MOT Malaysia, representatives from the airlines and the airports in Malaysia also participated in the meeting.

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