Singapore Air Long-Haul Budget Unit May Have Four 777s in 2012

Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA)’s planned long-haul budget unit may have four planes in service next year as it targets flights to Australia, China and Europe.

The fleet may jump to 14 Boeing Co. (BA) 777-200s by the end of 2016, according to tender documents for the yet-to-be named carrier on Singapore’s Air website. The budget unit will have about 400 seats on each 777, compared with the 323 fitted in the two-class 777-200s operated by Singapore Air’s mainline unit.

The new Singapore-based airline will operate a “no-frills model” with low fares and customers paying extra for services such as entertainment, according to the tender briefs. Singapore Air, the world’s second-largest carrier by market value, is creating the new unit as it loses leisure travelers at its home airport to AirAsia X Sdn. and Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN)’s Jetstar.

Audrey Tan, a spokeswoman for the budget unit, said the airline is yet to make any final decisions on its fleet or timing of its first flight. Campbell Wilson, a 15-year Singapore Air veteran, is leading the discount carrier, which is being run as a separately managed unit.

The tender documents were for in-flight entertainment and wireless connections for the new carrier, which is currently named New Aviation Pte.

In addition to its namesake brand, Singapore Airlines also owns regional carrier Silk Air and has agreed to increase its stake in short-haul budget carrier Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. (TGR) to about 49 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Fenner in Melbourne at rfenner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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