Less than three months after announcing its start up, Singapore’s low cost
airline, Tiger Airways, has appointed a Chief Executive Officer and named
its Chairman. With the appointment of a dedicated chief executive, the
carrier will push full steam ahead with its plans to take off this year as
scheduled. William A. Franke, managing partner and co-founder of Indigo Partners, one
of the shareholders in the venture, takes up position as chairman of
Tiger. Patrick Gan, a Singaporean who comes with extensive regional
experience, is Tiger’s new CEO, responsible for overseeing the airline’s
operational and administrative set up and development.
Mr Gan is a newcomer to the aviation industry, having spent 18 years in
the pharmaceutical sector. He brings to Tiger his breadth of experience in
management, marketing and sales.
“Patrick has the experience, capability and aptitude we were looking for
in a CEO,” said Mr Franke. “He has international experience, has worked in
regional markets, started up divisions and turned around companies in his
previous positions. With his record in management, sales, marketing, and
troubleshooting, we have full confidence that he is the right person for
the job ahead.
“An advantage is that he comes with no airline industry baggage, so to
speak, so we welcome his fresh perspective to our business.”
Tiger’s partners are Singapore Airlines; Temasek Holdings; Indigo Partners
LLC, the aviation partnership of David Bonderman, Bill Franke and Stephen
L. Johnson; and Irelandia Investments Limited, the private investment arm
of the Ryan family—Dr Ryan is best known as the founder of Ryanair, the
highly successful low-cost carrier based in Dublin.
Mr Franke brings to Tiger a wealth of experience in the aviation industry,
through Indigo’s investments in the sector as well as through his own
experience, in areas ranging from aircraft leasing and financing to the
management of an airline through bankruptcy to profitability.
Mr Gan’s experience in his previous positions includes starting up new
business in various Asian markets, regional responsibility for up to 16
markets, international experience including stints in Switzerland, Hong
Kong, China and Taiwan, involvement in mergers and turning around
divisions that were flagging.
Aiming to meet its schedule for take off in the last quarter of 2004, Mr
Gan’s immediate priority will be to hire for key positions and submit the
AOC. Tiger anticipates a staff strength of some 100, including pilots and
Mr Gan will also lead crucial negotiations with airports in the region as
the airline identifies its route network. Tiger plans to operate a single
type of aircraft, and negotiations are currently underway with
manufacturers and lessors.
Mr Gan said that the various tasks he undertook in his previous positions
qualify him for the job at hand. “It may have been a different sector, but
the business fundamentals of starting up and managing a company remain the
same. My focus at Tiger will be to keep costs down so that we can offer
passengers the lowest possible fares in the market.
“We want Tiger to be the ‘gold standard’ for budget airlines in the region
—lowest possible fares while at the same time offering state-of-the-art
aircraft, clean and comfortable inflight facilities, most convenient
connections, and staff who are committed to the success of the airline.
“We have pedigree partners with the experience and resources to ensure
that we can strongly establish Tiger as a leader in Asia’s low cost