The chairman of Tigerair Taiwan, a joint venture budget airline between Tigerair Singapore and Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL), said Tuesday that the carrier could continue operating using its original brand in the near future, despite financial straits.
Following a recent merger plan of Singapore Airlines, which will put Tigerair under its low-cost carrier (LCC) brand -- Scoot -- so that it has just one no-frills brand in its fold, doubts have emerged about the fate of Tigerair Taiwan, because under the current contract, much of its future remains in the hands of Tigerair Singapore.
Although the Singaporean side contributes only 10 percent of investment in the venture, it enjoys absolute veto power at board meetings.
This means, for instance, that Tigerair cannot be shut down without the agreement of the Singaporean partner.
However, Chairman Ho-jo Chang (???) said that a task force has been set up to review the contract with Tigerair Singapore, adding that he is optimistic that Singapore Airlines' 10 percent stake can be purchased back by the end of the year.
With absolute control of Tigerair Taiwan, there could be many options for its future operating model, Chang said in a press conference.
"There could be all kinds of scenarios, and it should not be a problem for Tigerair Taiwan to continue to exist," Chang told CNA.
Admitting that Tigerair Taiwan has lost more than NT$1 billion (US$31.77 million) since its inauguration in late 2013 -- half of its paid-in capital -- Chang said he believes that it would be best for Tigerair Taiwan to operate under its existing brand for at least another year.
Facing market speculation that CAL could close Tigerair Taiwan or merge the airline with Mandarin Airlines -- another CAL subsidiary -- once the contract obstacle is cleared, Chang said only that he will respect the final decision of the mother company.
However, he said he is confident that Tigerair Taiwan could start cutting its deficit next year through measures that could include re-organizing its flight network.
He said the carrier could add new routes to popular destinations such as Okinawa and Macau, as well as end less popular ones like Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, capital of Malaysia's Sabah State.
Tigerair Taiwan could also step up efforts to work with local tour groups and offer charter flights, he said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel