The AirAsia brand of low-cost travel is set to spread even further throughout Southeast Asia with a Singapore-based version. AirAsia managing director Tony Fernandes says the new carrier will start operating from Changi airport later this year.

Singapore AirAsia is the third low-cost start-up to be unveiled in the republic following Tiger Airways and ValuAir.

Fernandes says his version will be established in partnership with two local companies. They will hold 50% plus one share in the venture with AirAsia Malaysia holding the balance, and are expected to inject some S$120 million ($70 million) into the project.

"We submitted an AOC application to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) three weeks ago and plan to start an airline in Singapore as soon as we receive approval," says Fernandes. This process could take six to nine months.

Changi was chosen as the company's base after it was told it could not operate from its preferred choice of Seletar airport, which would offer lower costs and faster aircraft turnarounds. Seletar, toward the north of the island, is predominantly used by the military and business aircraft operators.

Fernandes says Singapore AirAsia will operate routes to Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, but will not reveal specification destinations at present. The airline will start up with two or three Boeing 737-300s subleased from AirAsia Malaysia.

Source: Flight Daily News