Tiger Airways Scouting for Indian Partner

Saturday, 23rd March 2013 at 03:21am

With the recent ease of India's aviation policy regarding foreign participation in a local airline, Tiger Airways is training its eyes on India's huge market.

When Tiger started its operation in India in 2007, it created a media buzz by offering airfare many believed as too good to be true. The airline offered $50 for a one-way travel from all southern cities in India to the island state of Singapore.

Now, it wants to solidify its hold in the local Indian market.

An airline executive has admitted recently that the airline is seeking partnership with a local Indian airline as an initial move to penetrate the local market. As a start, they will ink an interline agreement with a local partner where passengers can book flights with ease on the partner airline.

From there, both airlines may proceed to a high-level partnership where they may share resources in their marketing efforts or allow their respective network to serve as a feeder. The airline official added that if certain conditions warrant them to invest in a local airline thru equity purchase, then they will grab the opportunity.

According to the airline executive, Tiger has to study the Indian aviation market first before proceeding any equity venture. Currently, the budget carrier flies to Singapore from India's six southern gateways with a combined frequency of 35 flights per week. These cities include Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirapalli. It is also planning to open regular service from Coimbatore, Madurai and Vizag.

He further said that based on their assessment, SpiceJet fits the bill for their expansion in India.

Tiger will continue to attract passengers from India and Singapore with its low airfares and a huge niche market. It is now slowly attracting business travelers as well between the two countries.

Tiger Airways has, so far, weathered competition in the budget travel market considering the proliferation of many low-cost carriers across the region.

The airline is taking it slow in its plan for India as it has yet to fortify its investments in other countries where it has already an initial foothold. Early last year, it was able to acquire a 33% stake in Indonesia's Mandala Airlines. A few months later, it successfully bought a 40% stake in SEAir, a Philippines-based budget airline.

Tiger Airways Singapore is still a small player in its category with no more than 20 aircraft currently in its fleet. When combined with Mandala Airlines and SEAir, the Tiger group's fleet has a total of 33 aircraft.

Owing to the Tiger Airways group's extensive network across the region and beyond like Australia and China, the airline can connect its Indian customers to these countries. The Indian market is so huge with an estimated 450 million strong middle-class population who can afford to travel by air.

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