Tiger to replace Virgin flights on selected routes?

In the past 2 years, the two big airlines, Qantas and Virgin, have been adding capacity in the battle for the consumer’s dollar. At the lower cost end of the market, Jetstar has also been adding capacity, while Tiger was restricted by authorities from expanding after their grounding.

With all this extra capacity, consumers, it could be argued, have never had it so good. Sub $30 airfares, a good selection of flight frequencies to choose from, as well as new destinations on offer. With profits hard to find for the airlines, the good times could not last forever, and something had to change. That change started last year, with the announcement that Tiger would now be majority owned by Virgin.

With Virgin bringing Tiger into their fold, their model is looking more and more like the competition. At the top of the tree is the mainline operation, being fed traffic from their regional airline. To cater for the consumer market, they now had Tiger, to battle Jetstar on a like-for-like basis. Another big change was the removal of expansion restrictions on Tiger by the authorities. Tiger was now clear to grow and be far more efficient in its aircraft utilisation.

Many of our members wondered what effect the Tiger acquisition would have on the mainline operations. Having seen Qantas replaced by Jetstar on some routes, there was a feeling the same thing might happen with the competition. Last week came some clues that this might indeed be the case with a Tiger post on Twitter about some changes

@TigerairAU: Alice Springs & Sunshine Coast flights cancelled post 22/07 due to network cancellations. Pax will be contacted within the next two weeks.

Some argued that Alice Springs is not a budget traveller’s destination, so the withdrawal is no surprise. The news that they were leaving the Sunshine Coast was also not much of a surprise to our members, given their alleged reputation

Tiger did seem to have a terrible reputation out of Maroochydore. In their first life services were cancelled or overbooked. Even without asking random people I met spontaneously complained of Tiger.

So where are the aircraft going that used to operate these routes? First clues were not long to appear, with news that Tiger was replacing Virgin for two of its services from Sydney to Coolangatta. But that does not account for all the aircraft capacity being freed up with the cancellations.

Which ports are on the target lists for more Tiger services replacing Virgin in the near future? Do you think Virgin is in the right track with Tiger, have your say HERE.


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