Is Tigerair Philippines Headed for Re-Branding?

Low-cost carrier Tigerair Philippines has applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board for a change to its corporate name signalling what may lead to a future re-branding of the carrier. In its application, the carrier asked to change its corporate name to Go Air, Inc.

go air inc
Image Source: Tigerair Philippines
The corporate identity of the carrier is currently Southeast Asian Airlines Incorporated, named after the carrier's predecessor which earned a name in the Philippine aviation industry for their boutique leisure airline service to remote tourist destinations in the country. The airline continued to operate under that brand until last year when it re-branded as Tigerair Philippines, representing its alliance with former part owner, Singapore-based Tigerair. 

However, earlier this year, the budget airline was purchased by Cebu Pacific. Although Cebu Pacific did not specify any definitive future plans for the Tigerair brand in the Philippines, it said that the existing brand would be retained for the immediate future. 

According to officials at the Civil Aeronautics Board, the name change likely reflects the change in ownership. "I would assume that they applied for change of name because there's a new owner," said Wyrlou Samodio, Head of the CAB Legal Division. "That's the supposition there."

Since the original Southeast Asian Airlines was transformed into a low-cost carrier by Tigerair, the original carrier has relaunched its boutique leisure operations under the brand Seair International from Clark International Airport. The change of name may not only reflect a change of ownership but a means to further distinguish the corporate identity of the budget carrier from Seair International. 

Meanwhile, industry speculation continues as to whether Cebu Pacific will retain the Tigerair Philippines brand or not in the long-term. According to representatives of Tigerair Philippines, the possible re-branding is still under consideration. "We're not saying we'll retain it," said Menchie Osial, Tigerair spokesperson. "It's still under study and review." She added that the Civil Aeronautics Board had already approved the corporate name change and that the carrier was still awaiting the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Menchie noted that a decision on the future re-branding of the carrier could be reached by August.

Although the corporate identity will change from Southeast Asian Airlines Incorporated to Go Air Incorporated, the carrier will continue to operate under the Tigerair Philippines brand until a decision on re-branding has been made. The "Go" name is not new to Cebu Pacific. Parent company JG Summit Holdings currently operates a budget hotel chain under the "Go Hotels" brand with a number of locations throughout the Philippines. Whether Cebu Pacific will use the "Go" brand for Tigerair Philippines remains to be seen. 

Cebu Pacific completed its acquisition of Tigerair Philippines last month for $15 million. The carrier believes that it will break even on its acquisition by the summer of 2015.  At the end of March, Tigerair Philippines received the first of four A320 aircraft that will be leased from Cebu Pacific.


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