Passengers departing from Macau International Airport (MFM) will soon need to arrive at the airport earlier, as the airport’s check-in counters will close 60 minutes before flight departure from August 5.

This arrangement follows a new security requirement as part of the Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) process required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and local authority, according to a spokesperson from Macau International Airport. The airport has been working on modifying its existing hardware and facilities.

Currently, passengers departing from Macau International Airport must complete a security check of their baggage before they head to the airline’s check-in counter.

Speaking to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, the spokesperson from Macau International Airport said:

“However, there are risks that passengers may put controlled items into their checked baggage after they complete the security check prior to check-in.”

The airport says the new arrangements for the baggage screening process after check-in will be implemented in the near future. According to the spokesperson, there will be changes for passengers undergoing this procedure. Passengers won’t need to have their baggage scanned by an X-ray machine before they arrive at the check-in counter. Instead, they will be required to check in themselves and check their baggage first, which will be examined before being transferred to the airside.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson also told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that there’s a year-on-year increase of 17-19 per cent in the number of passengers travelling via Macau International Airport, and more passengers are expected to travel via the airport. The airport estimates that it may require more time for passengers to have their baggage checked before moving to the central security channels when the new arrangement is put into effect.

Currently, the opening time for check-in counters at Macau International Airport varies from airline to airline, according to the airport spokesperson. From August 5, all the check-in counters will be standardised to be closed 60 minutes before flight departure. The airport advises passengers to arrive at the airport earlier to go through all the departure formalities.

Since March this year, Macau Airport has implemented new aviation security requirements, including a ban on passengers carrying selfie sticks longer than 30cm in their carry-on baggage.