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Budget carrier Tigerair Taiwan to take delivery of 1st of 12 planes today

TAIPEI--Budget carrier Tigerair Taiwan, a joint venture between Taiwan's China Airlines and Singapore's Tiger Airways, said Saturday it will obtain the first Airbus 320 of a planned 12-plane fleet the next day.

With 180 seats on board, the aircraft offer considerably more capacity than those usually used by legacy airlines for regional flights, according to the airline.

The company is gearing up for the launch of daily round-trip flights to Singapore on Sept. 26 by offering up to 10,000 one-way tickets at a cost of no more than NT$1,000 (US$33) during a promotional period.

The carrier is hoping to tap into the budget airline market, which has served 1.88 million passengers to and form Taiwan during the first seven months of this year, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

That puts 2014 on track to far exceed last year's 2 million, which was more than the double the 930,000 passengers carried on low-cost airlines in 2012, CAA data indicated.

There are 13 low-cost carriers operating in Taiwan currently, with V Air, which was established last November as a low-cost subsidiary of Taiwan's TransAsia Airways, likely to enter the market later this year.

Currently, the budget carriers operating a Taiwan-Singapore route are Tiger Airways, Jetstar and Scoot, while legacy carriers CAL, EVA Airways and Singapore Airlines also fly the route.

The average passenger load factor on the route is about 90 percent, according to the CAA, adding that fierce market competition could be good news to customers as ticket prices could be driven down.

Tigerair Taiwan said earlier that it was also considering routes to Macau, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea in its initial flight network.

Last December, China Airlines and Tiger Airways agreed to set up Tigerair Taiwan to tap into the budget airline business. CAL holds a 90 percent stake with an investment of NT$1.8 billion in the new carrier, which has a paid in capital of NT$2 billion.

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