Thai Airways International has and Tiger Airways have announced that they will establish a joint venture low cost carrier which will be based at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Named Thai Tiger, the new LCC will start operations in the first quarter of 2011 and focus on flights within a five hour radius of Bangkok. Thai Airways will hold 51 per cent of the company, while Tiger will hold the remaining 49 per cent. The airline will fly Airbus A320s and is expected to share the same branding as Tiger’s other operations in Singapore and Australia.
“Thai Tiger will be well positioned to offer low fares to even more parts of the Asia-Pacific region from its base in Asia’s tourism leader, Thailand,” said Tiger Airways Group CEO Tony Davis. “Bangkok is a key gateway to the whole of South East Asia and from its base at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai Tiger will be well positioned to also serve destinations in North Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Spreading our paw-print means greater economies of scale for Tiger Airways, which in turn enables us to lower costs and fares even further.”
The move by Thai to enter a JV with Tiger comes as somewhat of a surprise, particularly given that it already holds a 39 per cent stake in local LCC Nok Air, to which it provides aircraft. However, the relationship between Thai and Nok has been strained over the last year, with Thai particularly worried over cannibalising its core domestic market. The new base is also expected to have an impact on AirAsia and Jetstar, both of which are aiming to build their brand and operations across southeast Asia.