Singapore Airlines (SIA) is set to launch a low-cost air carrier and is expected to operate in both short and long haul routes.

This service will compete with other low-cost carriers such as Air Asia, Indigo and Jet fly. "It will also be a cost-competitive operation," says Richard Tan, Manager, Southern India, Singapore Airlines.

In an interaction with select journalists here on Tuesday, he said the decision to launch such a service despite competition from other low-cost international carriers. Singapore Airlines, he said, would not compromise on quality and service.

Singapore Airlines, which has subsidiaries such as Silk Air, Tiger and Singapore Airlines Cargo under its umbrella, was keen to expand its business in South India.

Having smaller brands operating under a single flagship brand helped Singapore Airlines deploy aircraft of assorted sizes and cover different markets, he said.

Quality service

The airline was studying various routes such as Madurai and Coimbatore. He said the company would go in for bigger aircraft and increase the frequency. This would enable them to compete with other low-cost carriers, he said.

Mr. Tan said his company had positioned itself as a premium air carrier.

“Yes, we are slightly expensive when compared with some of the airlines. But we provide quality service to a passenger. We ensure that the passengers do not miss the connecting flights, which is critical in this airline business,” he said.

Pricing was based on distance and markets. The busiest months for the airlines were May and December. He said the leisure travel segment was growing in India. The company had tied up with various travel agents to promote newer destinations in Japan, China and Indonesia. He said the South Indian travel market was booming in this direction.

On increasing the frequency of flights, he said at present six times a week the Singapore Airlines was flying from Chennai and four times a week from Bangalore. Plans were under way to increase the frequency said. Silk Air was flying from Thiruvanthapuram, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Coimbatore daily.

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