Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Taiwan-based TransAsia Airways unveiled Thursday that the name of its soon-to-launch budget airline will be "V air" in English and "Wei Hang" in Chinese, both the results of public polls. The name for Taiwan's first locally established low-cost airline was picked out of nearly 8,000 submissions in month-long online poll launched in November last year. TransAsia offered a variety of possible interpretations for what "V" represents, all symbols of "positive energy" for a new company entering the market: voyage, vision, vivid, victory. But the man who suggested the winning name, identified only by the surname Huang, had something much simpler in mind. He thought of "V air" because Taiwanese people like to make a v-sign when posing for pictures. Calling it an "internationalized and friendly gesture," he noted "V" can also stand for victory and wished a smooth launch for the new low-cost carrier. Incidentally, the women who suggested the winning Chinese name is also surnamed Huang, though the two are apparently unrelated. She thought of the name "Wei Hang" -- literally "powerful airline" -- because, as she said, TransAsia is a "powerhouse" with the ambition to create Taiwan's first budget airline. For submitting the winning entries, the two Huangs are entitled to unlimited free flights on the budget airline for 10 years, according to TransAsia. V air is expected to begin operations by the end of the year, the company said. Whether the new carrier sees smooth flying will be another question, as competition in the local low-cost market is set to heat up with the expected entry of China
Airlines, Taiwan's largest air carrier. China
Airlines announced late last year its intention to set up a joint venture with Singapore
's Tiger Airways, with an investment of NT$1.8 billion(US$59.6 million) to take a 90 percent stake in what will be called Tigerair Taiwan.
Around 2.32 million passengers -- 5.9 percent of total traffic -- flew to or from Taiwan on budget airlines in 2013, a noticeable increase from the 930,000 passengers (3.5 percent of the total) in 2012, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Taiwan is serviced by 13 foreign budget airlines operating 15 routes, but to date does not yet have any of its own. (By Wang Shu-fen and Maia Huang)