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Tigerair Taiwan to begin service in Oct.: CEO

TAIPEI -- Tigerair Taiwan, a new budget carrier that will fly initially between Taiwan and other Asian destinations, is hoping to begin services in October at the earliest, its newly appointed chief executive officer said yesterday.

The carrier, a joint venture between Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) and Singapore's Tiger Airways, is considering Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea as its initial destinations, CEO Kwan Yue said at a press conference in Taipei.

Tigerair Taiwan hopes to take to the skies in October and plans to expand its fleet by one or two aircraft per year, with the aim of have 12 planes in service by 2017, he said.

Kwan said he is confident that with Taiwan's population of 23 million, there will be sufficient demand to ensure steady growth of the budget airline.

With the launch of Tigerair Taiwan, air travel and the aviation market in Taiwan will also expand, he predicted.

Kwan, 61, a retired air force officer from Singapore, has worked at other budget airlines such as Viva Macau, the Singapore-based Jetstar Asia Airways, and Vietnam-based Jetstar Pacific Airlines.

Meanwhile, Tigerair Taiwan said it has received more than 10,000 applications to fill 180 job openings that include 88 flight attendants, as well as pilots and ground staff.

Last December, CAL and Tiger Airways agreed to set up Tigerair Taiwan to tap into the fast growing budget airline business. CAL holds a 90 percent stake with its investment of NT$1.8 billion (US$59.62 million) in the new carrier, which has a capital of NT$2 billion.

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