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Singaporean budget airline to debut in Taiwan Tuesday

2012/09/17 16:15:21

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) Singaporean low-cost airline Scoot is scheduled to debut in Taiwan on Tuesday, becoming the 10th budget carrier in the market.

The inaugural flight will depart from Singapore at 1:05 a.m. and arrive in Taipei at 5:40 a.m. The airline will operate the Singapore-Taipei service every Tuesday and on weekends until Oct. 28. After that, it will offer daily flights until March 30, 2013.

Another Singaporean low-cost carrier Tiger Airways currently operates in Taiwan, while Peach Aviation of Japan is set to launch services in Taiwan in mid-October.

Budget air carriers have burgeoned in Taiwan in the three years since Jetstar Asia launched a Taipei route in 2004, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

Budget airlines now take up about 3 percent of the market share in Taiwan and hold great potential for growth, a study by the CAA showed.

The real market they are eying is the one across the Taiwan Strait and they are likely to enter into partnerships with Taiwan carriers, the CAA said recently.

During a recent visit to Taiwan, senior executives of Malaysia's Air Asia expressed great interest in investing in the country, CAA Director General Jean Shen said.

If foreign budget airlines enter into joint ventures with local carriers, the new companies will be permitted to operate flights from Taiwan to destinations in China that are open only to Taiwanese and Chinese airlines, Shen said.

This means they will be able to tap into the Chinese market indirectly, Shen added.

The CAA is optimistic about low-cost carrier services in Taiwan because they can help boost the country's economy and tourism and their presence is in line with the policy of making Taiwan a transportation hub in East Asia, Shen said.

Under the law, foreign investors are not allowed to contribute more than 49 percent to a Taiwan airline's total capital.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Kendra Lin)
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