Direct flights between a northern Philippine airport and Macau are set to begin by next month, in a move that could bolster Macau’s casinos.
Cagayan North International Airport in Lal-lo, a town in northern Philippines, will start offering regular flights to Macau and other destinations in China, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has said.
Jose Marie Ponce, the outgoing CEZA administrator, said the airport in Lal-lo town will initially offer two flights to and from Macau and China on a daily basis.
Ponce said the flight was arranged by Pai Hao Investment Company, in partnership with International Pacific Airways, to carry guests, tourists, and casino players.
CEZA CEO Raul Lambino added that the flights will help establish the Lal-lo airport as a regional hub.
“We are now talking with big firms in Hong Kong and Taipei for making use of the Cagayan North International Airport as the parking hub for their airplanes and helicopters,” Lambino said.
The airport opened in 2014 as part of an initiative to bolster growth in the region, with an emphasis on creating jobs in tourism, manufacturing, business processing management, agribusiness, amongst other sectors.
The Philippines and Macau are regarded as the David and Goliath of the Asian gambling industry, with the underdog’s casino market seeing nearly 24 percent growth in recent years. Macau, on the other hand, is well established but lately has been seeking new ways to jolt its sluggish growth rate.
Although most of the Philippines’ casinos are set up in the capital of Manila rather than in the north, the new connection between the rivalling gambling destinations is expected to boost both their markets.