A year on from its grounding by Australia’s aviation safety regulator, Tiger Airways Australia today opened its second domestic base, in Sydney, announcing new routes and creating 150 extra jobs.
The budget airline will deploy up to three of its Airbus A320s on routes from Sydney, including flying the Sydney-Gold Coast from today, working up to four daily flights, the equivalent of 1400 passengers a day passing through the two airports.
Sydney-to-Brisbane services start next month.
The airline is putting on extra flights between Melbourne and Sydney, bringing its schedule up to 11 daily return services on the busy route.
When the expansion is fully implemented by September 1, it will result in 3600 extra passengers a day passing through Tiger’s Sydney gates.
Tiger’s Australian chief executive, Andrew David, described the expansion as a major milestone for the airline, proclaiming “our formative years are behind us”.
“Today is an opportunity for Tiger to celebrate our accomplishments over the last 12 months whilst, importantly, we also reflect on our responsibilities as a credible and viable operation,” Mr David said.
“Tiger has grown and we are now moving on.
“The million-plus domestic passengers who have flown with us since we resumed operations have provided overwhelming support for the relaunched product.”
The extra routes are quite a turnaround for the airline from a year ago, when the Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspended the airline’s licence and grounded the fleet on July 2 last year, citing “a serious and imminent risk to air safety”.
During the six-week grounding, industry insiders were postulating the airline might never return to the skies.
A change in chief executives and the appointment of Mr David has resulted in a return to the basics of airline operation, with a heavy focus on improvements to reliability and punctuality of flights, and compliance with aviation regulations governing aircraft maintenance and pilot training.
Tiger says it has led on-time performance among major domestic carriers for the past 10 months.
Opening a Sydney base creates 150 jobs, bringing its workforce to about 500 (including maintenance and ground handling contractors).
Three of its 10 Airbuses will be based in Sydney, starting with one this month, a second next month and a third aircraft by September 1.
The airline has signed an agreement with Singapore Airline Engineering Company’s Sydney operation to provide aircraft maintenance services.
An 11th aircraft, to be based in Melbourne, arrives next month.
And while the airline has moved away from its dollar-dazzler fares, it hasn’t entirely changes its stripes.
The new services out of Sydney are being promoted with the release of discounted fares, starting at $10, available from midday today.
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