Air Macau Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Three Airbus A321neos

Air Macau recently announced its intention to lease three A321neos from AerCap. The carrier made public its agreement with the Irish lessor amid celebrations of 25 years of operation.

Air Macau jet take off
25 years of operations spell a sea change for Macau’s fleet. Photo: Airbus

The airline’s agreement with AerCap sees the introduction of the new type from late next year. The commitment to use Airbus’ newest type comes as Air Macau undergoes extensive fleet modernization.

The first A321neo will be delivered to Macau International Airport in November of 2020, writes Flight Global. The other two aircraft will join the fleet in October 2021.

Air Macau

At the end of 2018, Air Macau signed an agreement with AirLease for a pair of A321neos. Those aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1133G engines. Air Macau expects delivery of the two AirLease aircraft between the end of this year and the spring of 2020. The Pacific airline already owns the smaller A320neo.

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Air Macau began commercial operations in 1995. Its inaugural flight heralded the first air service between Macau and the rest of the world since 1962. At the outset, Air Macau leased three Airbus A321s and one A320 from AerCap,

The airline services routes between Macau and 24 destinations including 15 on the Chinese mainland. In addition, Air Macau enjoys profitable codeshare agreements with the likes of Air China, All Nippon Airways, Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways.

Air Macau jet in flight
Air Macau’s leasing of newer types may prove the envy of its closest competitors. Photo: Clemens Vasters via Flickr

Nature of the business

As part of their ongoing liaison, All Nippon Airways and Air Macau began a joint venture nine years ago in support of frequent flyer privileges. From 2010, Macau members have been able to earn mileage allowances on scheduled All Nippon flights. As part of the agreement, members are also able to redeem Award Travel points on flights marketed by ANA.

Air Macau caters for a huge number of Taiwanese passengers, many of whom use Macau as a transit to other destinations in China. In fact, over 80% of the carrier’s yearly custom originates in Taiwan. Less than five years ago Taipei and Kaohsiung travelers numbered in excess of one million annually.

Owned in the main by Air China, Air Macau is also shared between EVA Air and the Macau government. EVA is a Taiwanese international airline with a hub at Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei, Taiwan.

The future

In April of this year, Air Macau was presented with its first A320neo at Macau International Airport. The aircraft is the 21st Airbus aircraft in Air Macau’s burgeoning fleet. Macau owns or leases four A319ceos, six A320ceos and 10 A321ceo aircraft.

Air Macau A321
Air China is the majority stakeholder of Air Macau. Photo: Melv L via Wikimedia

Writes Airbus, in total, Air Macau will receive “eight additional A320neo and A321neo aircraft under leasing agreement in order to meet its fleet renewal and expansion program.”

Air Macau’s new 320neo family will be configured for 158 passengers. That includes eight business class seats and 150 economy. The fuel efficiency and range of the neo make it an ideal choice for Macau’s regional aspirations.

According to Airbus, the aircraft can deliver 15% greater fuel saving than aircraft of similar specifications. In light of an estimated hit to aviation of an estimate £1Bn in rising fuel costs in 2020 that could prove useful.

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