Air Macau is considering the addition of Airbus A330s to its fleet after losing business on Taiwan services to Hong Kong's Dragonair.

More than 70% of Air Macau's revenue is generated from flights between its Macau base and Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, the carrier says.

Since July, when Dragonair was awarded rights to operate between nearby Hong Kong and Taipei using Airbus A330-300s, Air Macau has seen demand decline.

As a result, the airline is being forced to look at the addition of A330s for Taiwan services, although the carrier's management is understood to be divided over a move up to widebodies from Airbus A320 family narrowbodies. Air Macau confirms it has asked Airbus and aircraft lessors to forward general information, although it is not yet at the formal request for proposals stage.

"For Air Macau to grow into widebody aircraft it is a very big decision," the airline says. "We are being very cautious on that."

Air Macau began flying late in 1995 and now operates 10 A320 family aircraft - all but one of them on operating lease - and one wet-leased Boeing 757 for passenger services. Last month it added dedicated freighter services using a wet-leased Boeing 727F operating twice-daily between Shenzhen in southern China, Macau and Taipei.

Non-stop flights between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland have been banned since 1949, forcing passengers and cargo to make transit stops in Hong Kong or Macau.

Like Air Macau, Dragonair earns much of its revenue carrying passengers and cargo between Taiwan and China via its home base. The two carriers are both controlled by Beijing-backed China National Aviation but operate as competitors.

Source: Flight International