Thai Airways and Singapore’s Tiger Airways are to establish a joint-owned low-cost carrier Thai Tiger that will launch in Thailand next year.

Thai Tiger will be based in Bangkok and fly to destinations up to five hours from the city, operating as a rival to booming low-cost carriers Malaysia-based Air Asia and Qantas-owned Jetstar.

Bangkok is a regional hub for Southeast Asia for tourists arriving from Europe.

Thai Tiger is expected to launch in the first three months of 2011 and could begin by flying to Vietnam and Cambodia from Bangkok.

Thai Airways will own 51% of the new airline and Tiger Airways 49%. Tiger is, in turn, 49% owned by Singapore Airlines – which owns a similar share of Virgin Atlantic.