Scoot and Tiger to merge as Singapore Airlines consolidates budget

SINGAPORE - Two budget carriers under the Singapore Airlines (SIA) umbrella will merge into a single brand from next month, it was announced Thursday, as the company consolidates to fend off growing competition.

From July 25, Scoot and Tigerair will operate under the Scoot brand and will use a single website, check-in counter and flight designator code, their holding company Budget Aviation Holdings (BAH) said in a statement.

Scoot, a medium-to-long-haul carrier, and Tigerair, which operates short-to-medium haul routes, were brought under the BAH umbrella in May 2016 but continued to operate separately.

The two airlines currently offer a combined network of 60 destinations in 17 countries, with a fleet of 35 planes as of March.

Parent company Singapore Airlines also has a full-fare regional wing called SilkAir, which serves leisure destinations in Asia.

SIA suffered a net loss of S$138.3 millionĀ in the fourth quarter to March, causing full-year profit to drop by more than half as intense competition from Asian low-cost carriers and Middle Eastern airlines continue to buffet the company.

Analysts have said it was time for SIA to review the model that made it one of the world's top airlines as the industry landscape has changed.

SIA last month announced that a "wide-ranging review" of the company's network, fleet and services is underway as the airline looks to the future.

Corrine Png, chief executive of aviation research firm Crucial Perspectives, described the Scoot-Tiger merger as a "very good move" owing to the complementary nature of the two brands.

"There is too much brand confusion in the SIA group with four brands," Png told AFP.

"It would be ideal if they have just two brands -- one (of) which is the premium SIA brand because SilkAir's branding isn't that strong, and then the Scoot brand to serve the leisure and more budget-conscious market," she said.

SIA's integrated budget carrier fleet would grow to about 60 aircraft in five years' time, making Scoot a major industry player, Png added.