New Airline To Base In Singapore
Qantas said today it
would be the major investor in a new intra-Asia, low cost airline
based in Singapore.
Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon said the airline would fly to a range of
Asian cities within five hours of Singapore and operate a fleet of
single aisle aircraft -- either Boeing 737-800s or Airbus A320s. He
said that Qantas did not currently fly on any of the new airline's
Dixon said the airline would begin flying before the end of 2004
with four aircraft and build to a fleet of more than 20 aircraft
over the following three years.
He said Qantas would own
49.9 per cent of the new airline, with 21.1 per cent owned by Tony
Chew and 10 per cent owned by FF Wong, both prominent Singapore
businessmen. Holdings (Private) Limited, a major investment company
based in Singapore, will own the remaining 19 per cent.
The owners will invest a total of S$100 million in the new
airline, with Qantas contributing S$50 million. All aircraft will
be financed through operating leases.
"This is a modest investment for Qantas but it is an excellent
opportunity to participate in the growing intra-Asia travel
market," Dixon (right) said.
"The region, which has a population of more than 3 billion
people, is enjoying strong economic growth and features many
potential destinations for point-to-point travel from
"Qantas has had considerable experience competing against low
cost carriers in the Australian market over the past ten years and,
more recently, Qantas set up its own low cost airline -- Jetstar --
which is taking bookings and will commence flying in Australia next
"A team from Qantas has been working on this project for the
past nine months. The team, headed by Con Korfiatis, a senior
executive at Qantas, includes former executives of successful
European low cost airlines.
"The team, plus people to be recruited throughout Asia in coming
months, will open offices in Singapore and be responsible for
bringing the airline on line. Our aim with the new airline is to
stimulate this market, as other low cost carriers have done in
other parts of the world. We do not aim and do not expect to be a
threat to the major established airlines in the region."
Dixon said Qantas had been flying to Singapore for 69 years and
Changi Airport was Qantas' largest international hub. "It is a very
strong base for the airline and we have excellent local partners in
Chew, Wong and Temasek," Dixon said.
Chew said: "I believe in the growth of budget air travel in
Asia. Together with our partners, Qantas and Temasek, we have the
right combination of financial backing, market knowledge, and
airline experience. The new low cost carrier will deliver quality,
value and safety to the traveler."
The launch of the new airline is dependent on it obtaining a
Singapore Air Operators' Certificate and substantive traffic
rights. Dixon said the new airline would further grow the Qantas
flying product, which comprised:
- Qantas International, offering about 540 flights each week
serving 84 destinations in 35 countries
- Australian Airlines
- Qantas Domestic, offering about 2,500 flights each week
- Jetstar, the domestic low cost carrier that will start flying
on May 25
- QantasLink, the regional airline, offering more than 1,900
flights each week.