Thursday, 20 November 2008

Macau International Airport – South China Sea

Opened since 1995, Macau International Airport (code: MFM / VMMC) has become a highly important transport hub for the area, which previously before the construction of the “airport in the sea”, was served mainly by luxury helicopters, and in decades before that, only by seaplanes.

The spectacular runway was built by reclaiming land from the sea. This is a double edged safety benefit and drawback: On one hand should there be an incident the rescue or fire-fighting demands are made that much harder. Also, any bad landing which over-shoots the runway, will result in a damp conclusion! But having sea rather than residential housing near to the runway is preferable, as there is less to crash in to. Such a conclusion is hard to imagine with the excellent safety record of aviation though.

It is reassuring to note that the runway here at MFM is a lengthy 3.2 kilometres in distance, which is comforting when travelling on a larger jet such as a Boeing 747!
In the region of 5 million fellow passengers make the trip through MFM and it's interesting but almost peculiar, to land on an arid-looking patch of man-made land apparently floating in the immense sea previously viewed on final approach!

With the ability of this location to continue flight operations 24 hours a day, (no residents in the sea!) Macau International is now steadily approaching its design capacity of 6 million passengers per annum, and also plays a critical role for freight trade in the area.

Video: Landing at Macau Airport.

Map of Macau International Airport

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