Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Two budget carriers to take off

ALL SYSTEMS GO:The two carriers, V air and Tigerair Taiwan, have to undergo a final five-stage examination by the Civil Aeronautics Administration before they can launch

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The nation may see two domestic budget carriers launch begin operations in the fourth quarter, following China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) receiving permission from the Civil Aeronautics Administration last week to set up a low-cost airline.

Eyeing the rising demand and potential in the low-cost carrier market, TransAsia Airways Corp (TNA, 復興航空) announced in November last year that the agency had given it the go-ahead to establish a budget-carrier subsidiary under the brand name V air (威航).

“We hope to launch official operation in September, if everything goes smoothly,” TNA public relations office vice president Alison Kao (高治華) told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.

The carrier hopes to see V air, in which it has invested about NT$2 billion to NT$3 billion (US$66.01 million to US$99.06 million), start official operations by the end of this year, Kao added.

CAL, the nation’s largest airline, is also accelerating the launch of its own low-cost carrier.

The carrier unveiled its plan in December last year to set up a low-cost carrier venture with Tiger Airways Pte of Singapore with a paid-up capital of NT$2 billion, branded Tigerair Taiwan (台灣虎航).

Tigerair Taiwan sent its application to the aeronautics administration before the Lunar New Year holiday and received permission to operate last week. It aims to start operations in the fourth quarter.

Both V air and Tigerair Taiwan are proceeding to a five-stage examination by the administration, after which permission to launch official business will be granted or denied.

They both plan to build a fleet mainly led by Airbus SAS 320 or 321 series planes.

The single-aisle aircraft is suited for regional routes of about five hours’ flying time — the focus of most budget carriers.

V air plans to either rent or buy two Airbus SAS 320 or 321 series aircraft for its first year of business, mainly operating routes to Northeast and Southeast Asian countries, Kao said.

The company is set to recruit a total of 60 pilots and flight attendants by the end of next month, she added.

Tigerair Taiwan is also to recruit a similar number of crew for its plan to buy three A320 series aircraft in its first year of business, with the fleet expected to total 12 planes in 2016 or 2017.

The carrier aims to launch regular routes in countries with open-skies agreements with Taiwan.

Both budget airlines will have their own promotional ticket prices and packages, with details to be confirmed later this year.

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