Friday, February 25, 2011

Tiger buys 32.5% of Seair

Singapore-based Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. is acquiring 32.5 percent of local budget airline Southeast Asian Air for $6 million.

Low-cost airline Tiger Airways told the Singapore Exchange that it signed an agreement with Seair Thursday to purchase 32.5 percent of the Philippine carrier from foreign investors.

“We are delighted that Tiger Airways wants to become a significant shareholder in Seair,” Seair president and chief executive Avelino Zapanta said in a statement.

“Seair has a long history of operating domestic and international services in the Philippines and having Tiger Airways as a shareholder will enable us to significantly expand our network of services,” he added.

With the acquisition, Seair is set to expand its operations on both domestic and international routes. It recently launched the Clark-Hong Kong route and plans to increase the frequency twice daily from April 15 to meet strong demand.

The budget carrier also mounts flights to Singapore and plans to launch short-haul, point-to-point flights within a 5-hour flying radius, using the Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Seair has a fleet of seven turboprops and two A319, which it plans to expand to 20 A320 in three years.

Seair is operated by a group of businessmen led by Tomas Lopez. Prior to Tiger Airway’s purchase, the Filipino group owned 60 percent of airline. German pilots Iren Dornier and Nick Gitsis held the balance.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our relationship with Seair,” said Tony Davis, president and group chief executive of Tiger Airways Holdings.

“The Philippines represents a major market opportunity for low- cost airlines. With more than 7,000 islands, a population in excess of 90 million, plus another 11 million working and living abroad, the Philippines is an important market for both international and domestic aviation,” Davis added.

Seair announced late last year that it signed an agreement with Tiger Airways to market and distribute the local carrier’s flights in the Asia-Pacific region through its Web site. Seair also signed an aircraft lease agreement with Tiger Airways.

Four local carriers led by Philippine Airlines opposed the partnership between Seair and Tiger Airways, claiming that the Singaporean company now virtually controlled the Filipino firm.






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