In its first move since Virgin Australia took controlling interest in the company, Tigerair is launching its new Sydney-Perth services. Tigerair Australia, in advance of the Christmas peak season, publicized today that it will fly up to six weekly return services on the trans-continental route. Discounted fares, starting at $109.95 each way, will be available from today. However, the fares are not available during the more expensive Christmas school holidays. The February and March low season will see the discounted fares resume, said the company.
The service will begin on December 19 and is the sixth launched this year. The other new routes are Melbourne-Sunshine Coast, Melbourne-Alice Springs, Sydney-Alice Springs, Sydney-Coffs Harbour, Sydney-Cairns and a three-time weekly Melbourne-Perth service. As part of the Virgin Australia group, the airline is looking to expand its footprint and fleet with the Sydney-Perth route. Tigerair Australia currently has 11 Airbus A320 aircraft and by 2018 plans to double its fleet to 22 aircraft.
Rob Sharp, Tigerair chief executive, said the airline has been synchronizing activities with Virgin Airlines to boost transcontinental routes. The new wide body Airbus A330s with revamped cabin service and business class has been a large part of this expansion. Sharp believes the new service will stimulate the value of the Sydney market as the Melbourne route did. He does not believe it will cannibalize Virgin’s leisure market. “We’re much more of the leisure, value end of the market,” said Sharp. “There are timings of the day which suit that market, so we co-ordinate the timings and I suppose compare notes about market depth, etcetera.”
Tigerair is aspiring to be the low-cost operator in the industry with efficiencies, low-cost models and keeping overall costs low. The introduced new route optimizes flying without having to reduce flying on other routes. “So optimizing the fleet and the bases that we have in Sydney provides a benefit for us,” Sharp said. “That was one of the strategic under lays behind this route as well.”
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