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Asia's Newest LCC, Thai Tiger Airways, is About to Wreak Some Havoc

August 11, 2010 at 4:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

Major airlines like Mexicana might still be in a death spiral, bouncing between bankruptcy and outright failure, but low-cost carriers seem to be doing at least relatively well.

A few weeks ago we saw the first ever entrance of an LCC into a major airline alliance with Air Berlin joined Oneworld, and now Asia is getting an entirely new carrier. Launching a new airline might seem kind of reckless given the punishing business environment, but we long ago learned that LCCs can thrive in bad economic times even while everyone else is taking a beating.

The new Thai Tiger Airways, a cooperative venture between Thai Airways and Tiger Airways, will begin flying next year.

The airline will fly domestic and international routes out of Bangkok, following the typical point-to-point model that you get with LCCs. The rest of the details are still being hammered out, but it looks like the flight radius will be around 5 hours.

The industry side of the announcement, on the other hand, is already a mess. Tiger is partly owned by Singapore Airlines, which is a direct competitor of Thai Airways, which is the other partner in this venture. And now Thai may want to buy its own stake of Tiger. And the real target of the new carrier is Thai AirAsia, an LCC property owned by Malaysia's AirAsia that has been just wrecking absolute havoc on the entire region. And Southeast Asian nations are set to endorse a wave of air liberalization policies over the next few years, which will push all of this mutual buying and selling and leveraging into overdrive.

In any case, before that happens we're going to see regional fare wars as airlines intensify their fights over turf. Which, when viewed from a particular angle, is really all that matters. And that angle is "when do we start packing for Asia?"

[Photo: Mattes / Wiki Commons]

Related Stories:
· Thai Airways, Tiger to launch new low-fare carrier [MarketWatch]
· Asia Travel [Jaunted]
· LCCs [Jaunted]

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