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TransAsia names LCC V air; due to make A320 order

TransAsia Airways is due to place an order for new narrowbody aircraft as it gears toward the launch of its low-cost arm by end 2014.

The Taiwanese carrier today announced that it will name its upcoming low-cost carrier V air. The name was picked from over 8,000 entries from a naming contest organised by the airline.

TransAsia aims for V air to commence operations by year end, and would soon make an order for new narrowbody aircraft, says a spokeswoman.

She adds that the carrier will likely launch with three to four Airbus A320s and A321s. These aircraft will be newly acquired and not taken from TransAsia's existing fleet or order book.

V air will focus on routes within a five-hour range from Taipei, likely with services to Japan and cities in Southeast and Northeast Asia.

The carrier has to meet several more requirements before the country's aviation regulator can award it an air operator's certificate (AOC). These include submitting a proposal including fleet plans, making sure it has the necessary operating manuals, and getting its staff and maintenance personnel trained.

Asked whether the Taiwanese market will be able to absorb the simultaneous entrance of two homegrown low-cost players, the spokeswoman says the carrier is "optimistic" about V air's market prospects. Having two low-cost players will also create more awareness about the low-cost model, and help in customer education, she adds.

Shortly after TransAsia announced that it will start a low-cost arm late last year, flag carrier China Airlines entered into a 90:10 joint venture with Singapore-based Tigerair to set up Tigerair Taiwan. The carrier aims to commence operations by end 2014.

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