Singapore-based low-cost carriers Jetstar Asia and Valuair said yesterday they were merging, marking the first consolidation in Asia's cutthroat...

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SINGAPORE — Singapore-based low-cost carriers Jetstar Asia and Valuair said yesterday they were merging, marking the first consolidation in Asia’s cutthroat, crowded budget-travel market.

The companies announced the formation of a new entity that will “own and operate both airlines.”

Australia’s Qantas Airways holds a 49 percent stake in Jetstar Asia, while the Singapore government’s investment arm, Temasek Holdings, controls 19 percent.

Valuair is owned by a group of Singapore executives.

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The two carriers fly Airbus jets.

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon will be chairman of the new airline, while Jetstar Asia Chief Executive Ken Ryan will hold a similar executive position after the merger.

No information was provided on the role that former Valuair executives would play after the merger.

Valuair, the first budget carrier launched in Singapore, has yet to turn a profit.

Jetstar and Valuair face stiff competition from Singapore-based Tiger Airways, as well as from Indonesia’s Lion Air, Malaysia’s AirAsia and Thailand’s Nok Air.