Carrier plans to add four new passenger routes and a dedicated Taipei cargo service following change of ownership

Air Macau is planning to expand its network by around 30% this year following an ownership change that puts control of the carrier in the hands of the main shareholder Hong Kong-based Dragonair.

Hong Kong-listed China National Aviation Company (CNAC) is acquiring 51% of Air Macau from its own parent, China National Aviation Corporation Group, which is the commercial arm of the regulatory Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The CAAC is planning to give up ownership of the company, however, and it will be merged into national carrier Air China.

Air Macau's new owner is already the biggest single shareholder in fast-growing Dragonair with a stake of 43%, but it has been seeking to expand its airline interests for some time. It is acquiring control of Air Macau from its parent, which controls China's Zhejiang Airlines, in return for property assets.

CNAC says Air Macau, which operates to 13 Asian destinations including nine in mainland China, will add four more passenger routes this year.

New services are planned to Chongqing, Xian and Zhangjiajie in China, as well as to Singapore. The airline also plans to launch dedicated cargo services later this year to Taipei in Taiwan, which it already serves with its passenger aircraft.

Air Macau began operating in 1995 and earns most of its money by carrying passengers between Taiwan and China via Macau, which in 1999 became a special administrative region of China.

China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and there have been no direct flights between the two countries for more than 50 years, forcing stopovers in Hong Kong or Macau.

Air Macau flies five Airbus A321s, three A320s and one Boeing 757. It is due to take delivery of two A319s in June and August this year, followed by three more Airbus narrowbodies early next year.

Source: Flight International