Tiger Airways buys SEAIR stake

Infuses $6 million capital to the airline

February 25, 2011

Manila - Singapore based budget carrier Tiger Airways said Thursday that it is set to buy a 32.5 percent stake in Philippine leisure carrier South East Asian Airlines as it strengthen its foothold in the country's aviation market.

The carrier will be purchasing from the share of Seair's co-founders Iren Dornier and Nick Gitsis, who will thereafter hold a combined 7.5% stake in airline.

A majority 60% stake of the airline will still be held by local investors, says a Seair official. They belong to Olma Inocentes, Tommy Lopez and Gaye Olivares.

The $6 million investment in SEAIR will give Tiger Airways a foothold in a potential high-growth market, its chief executive and president Tony Davis said in a joint statement.

"The Philippines represents a major market opportunity for low cost airlines," Davis said.

"With more than 7,000 islands, a population in excess of 90 million, plus another 11 million working and living abroad, the Philippines is an important market for both international and domestic aviation."

SEAIR President, Avelino Zapanta, said that Tiger's planned acquisition of a significant stake in the airline would be used to acquire more airbus planes to enable it to expand its international and domestic services.

“We are delighted that Tiger Airways wants to become a significant shareholder in Seair. Seair has a long history of operating domestic and international services in the Philippines and having Tiger Airways as a shareholder will enable us to expand significantly our network of services,” Zapanta said in a statement released by Tiger Air.

The airline regularly flies from Manila-Clark to Singapore and Hong Kong, using a leased Airbus 319 aircraft from Tiger. It plans to double its Hong Kong service to twice-daily from April 15 to meet strong demand.

The company however hit a snag when it failed to launch a three times a week flight to Macau on February 14 due to some administrative concerns from the Philippine Aviation Authorites.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Macau (AACM) already received the application from Seair and has requested its counterpart in the Philippines for additional information which did not came on time, says its spokesman.

“According to our internal procedure, we have requested the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to provide additional information for our examination and it is still pending. Therefore, the application is still under progress.”

The airline earlier sought government approval to mount charter flights to Taipei but again hit a snag on some administrative issues forcing one of its airbus plane to be grounded in the meantime. Seair lease 2 Airbus 319 for its proposed destinations.

Seair is mulling to expand its domestic operations this year to major points in the country.

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