ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
THAI wants to launch Tiger
Piyasvasti Amranand said the establishment of Thai Tiger Airways (TTA) was on course and he shrugged off questions raised by the Transport Ministry as "not being of substance". "As far as THAI is concerned, it is a foregone conclusion that the [TTA joint venture] will proceed," he told reporters in a terse tone.
His statement was the first response since the Transport Ministry on Sept 27 ordered the creation of a special committee to examine the TTA plan. That same day, THAI chairman Ampon Kittiampon and Dr Piyasvasti were summoned to justify their proposal to ministry officials. Supoj Sublom, the ministry's permanent secretary, said after the Sept 27 meeting that many more details of the TTA venture needed to be clarified.
The new scrutiny committee includes representatives from the ministry, THAI and the Office of Traffic and Transport Planning and Policy. It will take an in-depth look at the implications of the deal.
Specifically, it wants to determine whether setting up a budget carrier in collaboration with THAI's major regional business rival would disadvantage THAI, according to Mr Supoj.
Both Mr Ampon and Dr Piyasvasti have been unhappy with the criticism of the plan to set up TTA, which would be 51 percent owned by THAI and 49 percent by the Singapore-based low-cost airline.
Some critics have asked why THAI wants to set up another budget airline when it already holds 39% of the budget carrier Nok Air and is even considering adding to that stake by offering to buy more shares from Krung Thai Bank.
The most contentious part of the deal is the involvement of Temasek, the Singaporean government's investment arm, and Singapore Airlines in Tiger Airways.
Tiger Airways is owned 33.7 percent by Singapore Airlines and 7.7 percent by Dahlia Investment. Both are in turn controlled by Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd.
Dr. Piyasvasti insisted yesterday that the plan was well on course according to the memorandum of understanding signed by THAI and Tiger Airways.
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