Thai Airways to review alliance with Tiger Airways


Thai Airways International Plc said on Thursday it was reviewing plans for a budget airline alliance with Singapore’s Tiger Airways after two big Tiger shareholders and its chief executive sold discounted shares in the budget carrier.

Tiger said substantial shareholders Indigo Singapore Partners and Ryanasia, along with chief executive Tony Davis, sold 65.796 million Tiger shares at a discounted price of S$1.90 in a transaction worth about S$125 million ($93 million).

“We have to admit that it’s something we never knew before. Now our finance department is looking at more details and considering if the change will affect our plan to set up a new carrier with Tiger,” Executive Vice President Chokchai Panyayong told reporters.

“We have to analyse this issue carefully but I can’t pin down if it will affect us at this moment,” he said. “If the selloff has no big impact on management or the shareholding structure, Thai Air will go ahead with the alliance plan.”

This month, Thai Air announced plans to form a budget airline with Tiger to be called “Thai Tiger Airways”. The new airline had planned to acquire 10 new Airbus (EAD.PA) A320s in 2011 and 2012.

Thai Air, which is in the process of restructuring, is also considering the possibility of setting up a regional airline service in a drive to become a fully integrated airline.

Thai Air, 51-percent-owned by the government, plans to raise 15 billion baht ($475 million) via share issues and is seeking 20 billion baht in loans from domestic banks to help restructure its finances.