Year-over-year growth in annual passenger volume keeps Macau International Airport feeling crammed. A record was set in 2018 with 8.3 million passenger transfers, well exceeding the airport's estimated capacity of 6 million annual passengers. Perhaps arriving to a busy airport shouldn’t be a surprise: With more than 53,000 people per square mile, Macao is the most densely populated place in the world!
Despite operating beyond capacity, facilities at Macau International Airport are clean, up to date, and (usually) efficient.
Macau Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
- Airport Code: MFM
- Location: Macau International Airport is located on the very eastern edge of Taipa Island, adjacent to and just south of the Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal.
- Website: https://www.macau-airport.com/en
- Flight Tracker: https://www.macau-airport.com/en/flight-information/real-time-flight-information/arrival
- Phone Number: +853 2886 1111
Know Before You Go
Although frequently busy, you won’t have any trouble navigating Macau International Airport—finding the right gate is easy when there are only 10 total, and you probably won’t have to run to catch your flight. And with only five air bridges, there is a good chance you’ll be taking a bus from the gate to board your plane parked out on the tarmac. The single runway juts out into the sea on reclaimed land! Note that flights and ferries sometimes are typically canceled more frequently in August and September during peak typhoon season.
The airport is planned intuitively and signed well enough with English and Portuguese available on all important signs. Only 2 percent of the population still speaks Portuguese, but it's an official language in Macao. Approximately 25 percent of the population speaks English, but you shouldn’t expect every airport staff member to understand your questions.
Although it's open 24 hours, there is no good reason to hang around Macau International Airport any longer than necessary. You’ll be better served by taking care of eating, shopping, and using up currency (if the casinos spared you any) before getting to the airport. Passengers in transit do sometimes have to spend a night in the terminal, and most complain about how chilly the airport is kept no matter the climate outside.
Like neighboring Hong Kong, Macao is a Special Administrative Region of China. They maintain their own immigration control and customs restrictions. Queues for both can become quite long as international tourists, mainland Chinese residents, and travelers bound for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai pass through.
There are two parking areas, one at each end of the terminal building. Rates are fixed at 6 Macanese Pataca (around 75 cents) per hour. Leaving a car for 24 hours will cost around $18.
Public Transportation and Taxis
- Taxis: Metered taxis from the airport are relatively expensive, and traffic can be a nuisance. The 20- or 30-minute trip to the center of Macao could cost about $50 or more. As is a problem elsewhere in Asia, a few drivers will refuse to turn on the meter and instead quote an inflated price. You should wait for an honest driver who agrees to use the meter. Even still, taxi queues can be frustratingly long. Fortunately, taxis can be saved as a last resort because there are other options for public transportation.
- Shuttle Buses: If arriving before 9 p.m., you may be able to grab a free shuttle bus from the airport. Many hotels and casinos offer complimentary transfers. Shuttle buses operate out of the parking lot on the northern end of the airport (walk right when you exit). Find out if your hotel is near any of the major casinos; all offer free shuttles from the airport.
- Public Buses: Public buses are an inexpensive option for getting from the airport to the center of Macao; however, using them for the first time takes some figuring out. Drivers can’t provide directions or change; try to pay exact fares.
- LRT Train: The Macau Light Rapid Transit train began service in December 2019. The automated, two-car trains run every 10 to 15 minutes until 11:15 p.m. Stops include both the airport and ferry terminal. A single ride is $1.25 or less, depending on the distance traveled. Check the official website for a service map and up-to-date information as construction continues.
- Express Link: If arriving or departing between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. with a ferry connection, you can use the Express Link bus service that connects the airport and nearby Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal (a 15-minute walk). The Express Link allows you to bypass immigration in Macao; you’ll get stamped in after arriving in Hong Kong. Tickets for the ferry to Hong Kong (1 hour) can be purchased at either the airport or ferry terminal. Despite more than 150 ferry runs per day, boats can still fill up on holidays and popular weekends.
Where to Eat and Drink
Choices for food in Macau International Airport are limited, especially once you pass through security. No restaurants are open 24 hours; all tend to close before 10 p.m. In a pinch, you can grab snacks from the 7-Eleven.
Before security, your choices for food are limited to a McDonald’s, MX (also fast food), and Starbucks. Once airside after clearing security, the choices for eating and drinking are Blooom Coffee House (a cafe), Food2 (a Hong Kong cafe), Starbucks, SAN MOU I (quick eats), and Foodlane (a miniature food court).
Local favorites such as claypot dishes and ramen noodle soups can be found at Foodlane (mezzanine level airside). Meals cost roughly $8 to $12.
Keep in mind, some restaurant staff members may speak just enough English to finish a transaction. Placing an order is easy, but asking additional questions or making changes to an order might create confusion.
Where to Shop
Shopping outside the duty-free area is almost nonexistent inside the airport. A Miniso (a souvenir shop) and two minimarts are pretty well the only options for burning leftover currency.
Cookies, egg tarts, and other sweet local treats for yourself or friends at home are available from Pastelaria Yeng Kee and Koi Kei Bakery—both are located airside in Departures.
There are two choices for lounges inside Macau International Airport: the Plaza Premium Lounge and the Air Macau Lounge.
Any passenger can book a spot in the Plaza Premium Lounge, the most comfortable room in the airport. The lounge (open from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.) is located airside in International Departures near Gate 9.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. You’ll be logged off automatically after a set time but can log back in. Charging ports are everywhere, but securing a seat near one can be competitive!
Macau International Airport Tips and Facts
- Macau International Airport seems to stay extra cold. The super-powered air conditioning never stops, even in winter! Keep something warm out of your checked luggage—you’re going to need it.
- With the high volume of passengers, noisy announcements, and cold air conditioning, getting some sleep on a layover in Macau International Airport is tricky, but staff members don’t seem to mind if you try. Consider paying for lounge access or splurging for a nearby hotel (there are many with free shuttle service) if getting some rest is important.
- The hotel nearest Macau International Airport is the Golden Crown China Hotel, a 4-star property directly across the street; you can walk there.
- Macau Airport is serviced by many low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia, partially thanks to the low fees imposed by the airport. AirAsia offers cheap connections from Bangkok (DMK) and Kuala Lumpur (KLIA).
- Don’t get frustrated when your best attempts at speaking Mandarin, a tonal language, fail to be understood. Cantonese is the predominant language in Macao. Rather than the simplified Chinese characters probably found in your Chinese phrasebook, signs around Macau implement traditional Chinese writing as seen in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- Smoking lounges are located on each end of Departures after passing through security.