Premium gaming segments to benefit as airlines increase flight capacity to Macau for May holiday

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Chinese airlines are planning to increase the number of flights from major cities Beijing and Shanghai to Macau for the upcoming May holiday, a further indication that Macaus recovery continues to gather speed.

According to a series of report from investment bank Morgan Stanley this week, airline operators have been increasing the number of flights in anticipation of more travelers, with the Beijing route schedule for the week of 29 April to 5 May improved from a 68% year-to-date decline (versus 2019) to a 36% decline.

The Shanghai-Macau route has also seen movement in the past few days alone, improving from 46% of 2019 capacity to 61% since 16 April. The total number of flights from China to Macau has increased from 48% of 2019 to 52% as of Monday.

Morgan Stanley analysts said this week that they estimate 10% of all visitors by air to Macau are premium mass or VIP customers.

Most premium mass and VIP customers come to Macau via air, they wrote, indicating that air travel remains a lucrative form of transport for Macaus gaming operators.Around 9% of all Chinese visitation to Macau in 2019 was by air, equal to 6,600 people per day or 2.4 million in total.

An increase in flights to Macau comes after the Macao Government Tourism Office last week reported the highest single day visitor tally in 15 months. Gaming analysts also said that gross gaming revenues had climbed to MOP$300 million per day during the second week of April.