Effective November 14, 2010, Singapore based low cost carrier Tiger Airways is withdrawing its four a week Airbus A320 service between Bangalore and Singapore.
The move is rather surprising since the winter season between November and February is the busiest travel period in the year. While no official reasons have been given, there are two possibilities.
Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary SilkAir also operate this route, as does Air India. Singapore Airlines positions itself at the upscale and long-distance traveller, while SilkAir caters to regional traffic. Tiger caters to the regional, low cost and first time tourist traffic.
SilkAir was forced to move its highly desired post midnight slot at Bangalore from November 1, to a poorly timed mid-day slot, for “operational reasons”. This slot competes directly, with Malaysian low cost behemoth AirAsia. Tiger continues to enjoy its post mid-night slot.
While Singapore Airlines does not interfere with Tiger operational management, it is an investor. It is not out of the realm of possibility the airline was “asked” to withdraw its service to better accommodate SilkAir. One should not be too surprised if we see a change in SilkAir schedule very soon. If not, it would be an extremely poor move on the part of the Singapore Airlines group to give up a great slot and not take advantage.
Another possibility is that AirAsia has simply muscled Tiger out of the Bangalore low cost market. AirAsia has a distinctly unfriendly slot timing, compared to Tiger, reaching Bangalore around 16:30 in afternoon and the return flight reaching Kuala Lumpur close to midnight, but it enjoys significantly better brand recall compared to Tiger in the low cost market.