As budget airlines become increasingly popular in Asia, Taiwan is set to see at least two new low-cost air carriers launch flights in the nation over the next year, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).
Taiwan has been host to 13 budget carriers since the first began operating in the country nearly a decade ago, the CAA said, and two Taiwan-based carriers are set to enter the market.
TransAsia Airways last month announced plans to set up Taiwan’s first locally based budget airline, which it expects to begin services by the end of next year.
Meanwhile, China Airlines’ board of directors has approved a joint venture with Singapore’s TigerAir which the companies hope can begin operating next year.
In addition to local carriers, the CAA said that a budget Vietnamese airline is also considering opening a Taipei route.
Singapore’s Jetstar Asia was the first budget firm to begin operating in Taiwan in 2004, starting a trend which has seen low-cost airlines grow in popularity and scope over the past decade.
Budget airlines made up less than 4 percent of international routes to and from Taiwan last year, but that ratio grew to 5.7 percent in the first 10 months of the year, the CAA said.
Over the same period, 1.85 million passengers flew on low-cost airlines, nearly double last year’s 930,000 figure, according to CAA data.
Budget air carrier AirAsia Marketing manager Joey Kao (高歌樵) said that the company has made a profit every year, despite growing fuel costs, adding that growth of more than 20 percent in the third quarter of the year thanks to effective cost management.