Taiwan's airlines are continuing to lose domestic customers to new high-speed rail services, forcing them to look elsewhere to grow their businesses.

TransAsia Airways is the latest to try to break out of the local market by revealing that it is seeking to establish joint venture airlines in other markets, including China and South Korea. Trans­Asia says it is talking with Korean partners to establish a joint venture airline in Busan and with China's Sichuan Airlines on the establishment of a joint venture airline in Shanghai.

Other Taiwanese airlines have already bought into the expanding Chinese market, namely China Airlines, which has a stake in Chinese cargo carrier Yangtze River Express, and EVA Air, which has a stake in Shanghai Airlines' cargo subsidiary. The moves are important to help build ties between Taiwan and China.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and there are no regular non-stop flights between the two sides, although charter flights are allowed during holiday periods. Their airlines maintain good relations, however, and are building partnerships in anticipation of scheduled flights being allowed in future.

Taiwan's domestic air transport market has been shrinking as more passengers switch to high-speed rail services running ­between the capital Taipei and Kaohsiung, a port city in the south. There are over 20 daily flights between the two cities.

Source: Airline Business