Malaysian low-fare carrier AirAsia is to establish an associate carrier in Singapore in partnership with two local companies.

Two undisclosed Singapore companies will hold 50%, plus one share, in the new carrier, while AirAsia (Malaysia) will control the remainder, says AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes.

"We will disclose our joint venture partners [to the public] when we get our air operator's certificate [AOC]," says Fernandes, who says Singapore AirAsia has already secured one joint venture partner and is aiming for one more.

He says the Singapore joint venture partners will be from outside the airline industry and are expected to inject at least S$120 million ($72 million) into the airline.

"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 from the CAAS," he adds. This could take between six and nine months.

Fernandes says the new airline will be forced by CAAS to operate out of Singapore's main Changi airport rather than its first choice, the secondary Seletar airport. Two other low-fare carriers are being prepared for launch in Singapore - Tiger Airways, which is part-owned by Singapore Airlines, and ValuAir.

Source: Flight International