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Thailand Transport Minister opposes Thai Tiger


Published on Sep 3, 2010

Tie-up with Nok Air favoured...

Thailand’s Transport Ministry has reiterated its opposition to the tieup between Thai Airways International (THAI) and Singapore’s Tiger Airways, to form a new low-cost carrier, Thai Tiger Airways. The Bangkok Post yesterday reported the country’s Transport Minister, Sohpon Zarum, as saying that his office “disagrees with the joint venture plan… even if the Prime Minister and Mr Korn [Thailand’s Finance Minister, Korn Chatikavanij] support it”. Zarum said that if THAI wanted to expand its low-cost operations it should do it in partnership with its domestic affiliate, Nok Air, rather than with a foreign carrier. Based in Bangkok, Thai Tiger will operate short-haul international and domestic flights out of Suvarnabhumi airport. Although exact routes have not yet been announced, the carrier will potentially compete with Nok Air on key domestic routes, including Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai. THAI and its local partners hold a 51% stake in Thai Tiger, with Tiger Airways holding 49%. The Thai national carrier also holds a 49% stake in Nok, while Tiger is 33% owned by Singapore Airlines. It is thought that THAI’s decision to tie-up with Tiger refl ects its desire to compete with Thai AirAsia. Tiger – a fast-growing international LCC – represents a better partner to do this than Nok. Thai Tiger Airways is expected to launch operations in Q1 2011.

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