Macau | EXCLUSIVE: Turkish Airlines aiming to connect Macau to Europe

Macau (MNA) – Turkish Airlines is currently in negotiations with Macau International Airport (MIA) to operate a commercial flight route between Macau and Istanbul, MIA has confirmed to Macau News Agency (MNA).

Negotiations began in March, with the MIA spokesperson saying they “hope” to finish them “as early as possible.”

Details about the frequency of flights and the number of aircraft that would eventually operate the Macau-Turkey route are set to be confirmed during the negotiations.

“Still negotiating, so not yet fixed the schedule,” the MIA spokesperson said.

However, other sources told MNA that Turkish is planning to operate three flights per week. The move would cut several transit hours for passengers departing from or arriving in Macau willing to travel to Europe since it will avoid connections via Hong Kong.

A member of staff of the Turkish Airlines office in Hong Kong International Airport told MNA that the company, established in the neighbouring city 15 years ago, currently operates six flights per week to Istanbul – from where it offers several connections worldwide, including Lisbon – with the exception of Wednesdays.

Once negotiations are concluded in Macau, the MIA spokesperson said the beginning of operations will depend upon the “airline’s progress,” without advancing if flights would be available this year.

“An airline being ready to operate, it depends upon the many factors, not only the airline itself – for example, the government of both destinations, the aviation rights, and so on,” said the MIA spokesperson, claiming the airport currently has capacity for route development and apron, with slots still available.

“Overall, we are able to welcome new airlines operating in MIA,” the airport spokesperson stated, claiming, however, that the Passenger Terminal building is already “out of capacity.”

MIA was unable to disclose the reasons for the company seeking to strike a deal with the local airport or if it were to continue part of its operations from Hong Kong.

The unavailability of more slots in Hong Kong, however, was the main reason given to MNA by our sources for the beginning of talks between the airline and MIA.

The marketing manager of Turkish Airlines in Hong Kong was unreachable for comment, while the Hong Kong Airport Authority had not replied to MNA’s questions before this story was published.

Turkish Airlines started its operations in 1933 with just five aircraft. Today its passenger and cargo fleet totals 324 aircraft.