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Macao airport's passengers to drop 10 pct in 2009
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Macao International Airport was expected to handle just 4.5 million passengers for the whole of 2009, which will render a 10 percent year-on-year decrease, the Macao Post Daily reported Thursday.

The airport's cargo throughput was also predicted to slide by 50.3 percent year-on-year to 50,000 tons this year, while aircraft movements standing at 42,100, the daily quoted Liu Suning, executive director of the Macao International Airport Company (CAM) , as saying.

The airport has shown poor operational performance in 2008, with passenger movements and cargo throughput down seven percent and 44 percent year-on-year respectively, according to the statistics from the CAM.

Unstable oil prices, the Chinese mainland's control on permits for residents to travel to Macao, and a decrease in the number of transit passengers due to last year's implementation of direct flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan combined to worsen the operation performance of the airport, said Liu.

Despite the dull prospect for this year, she said that the implementation of the "three direct links" between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan would create new opportunities for the airport, such as the launch of a "two-way transformation in the transfer business", according to the daily.

CAM figures showed that the number of transit passengers, most of whom came from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, dropped 39 percent to 1.3 million last year, while the number of point-to-point passengers grew from 53 percent in 2004 to 74 percent last year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 12, 2009)

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