Low-cost carrier SpiceJet, run by Kalanithi Maran, is in talks with Singapore budget airline Tiger Airways for a possible deal along the lines of the Jet-Etihad tie-up.SpiceJet seems best fit for Tiger Airways' expansion plan as well.A civil aviation ministry official said that in case of a tie-up, Tiger Airways and SpiceJet will have to compete with the Air Asia Tata Group joint venture as both Southeast Asian carriers operate broadly in the same market.
In India since 2007, Tiger Airways stirred the market in the south recently with rock-bottom fares for flights to its hub in Singapore ($50, inclusive of taxes). It now wants to strengthen its India imprint by partnering an Indian airline.A top civil ministry official said that the representatives informally met civil aviation authorities recently. However, Spice-Jet's spokesperson refused to comment or share any details concerning a possible tie-up. According to sources, a broad understanding has been reached between promoters of both the carriers but they are unlikely to sign a deal soon. Industry sources have confirmed that SpiceJet promoters have been seeking investment through a strategic partner.
Tiger first wants to make a strong business case first. The airline, which currently operates 35 profit-making weekly flights out of India with loads of up to 80%, is looking to expand in new southern markets like Vizag, Coimbatore and Madurai, regions where Spice Jet already has a strong presence. For this reason Spice Jet would be a good fit, but said currently nothing is firmed up. Tiger operates out of Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli and Hyderabad.Travel trade experts said that the Singapore-based airline will always find volumes as the city-state is a top destination of Indian travelers. Over 1 million Indians travel to Singapore every year. By having an interline arrangement and partnering with an Indian carrier, Tiger can offer many more destinations in India to its travellers, with both airlines sharing 40-50 seats per flight.Tiger has succeeded in taking the fight to competitors, including those like Singapore Airlines, which has a 33% stake in Tiger, and its fully owned full-service subsidiary Silk Air.
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