Tiger Airways wants to expand to an international airline, flying to countries around the Asia-Pacific rim – and take business travellers along for the ride.
The low-cost carrier has cited New Zealand and Singapore as two potential destinations while Darwin, Perth and Cairns are considered potential springboards for its international flights.
All that’s missing, the airline says, is Federal Government approval. “Tiger Airways is willing and able to fly internationally once we get the regulatory approval to do so”, says airline spokeswoman Vanessa Regan.
Regan told Australian Business Traveller that the lucrative trans-Tasman route was on the shortlist – “we’ve made no secret of New Zealand being of interest to us” – and also admitted that “Darwin to Singapore could be an opportunity as well.”
However, the airline would only seek to reach relatively close ‘short-haul’ destinations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. “Our A320 fleet has a range that limits us to around four to five hours”, Regan explains.
This would require flights to Asian countries to leave from further north or west than Tiger’s current base at Melbourne’s Avalon Airport.
“We could be looking at Darwin, Perth or Cairns for that matter as international interconnects” suggested Regan. “ We are open to all opportunities, as long as there is enough demand to make the routes profitable for us.”
That demand includes the business travel market, Regan says.
“We’re finding more and more business and corporate flyers on a number of our routes, especially the ones on which we have highest frequency. Low fares are increasingly important to all markets and all travellers, that’s a global trend.”
“And our unbundling – providing the fare and then all the frills as separate entities so people can choose what they want to pay for – is appealing to a much broader range of the market.”
One hurdle in wooing more business travellers, however, is Tiger’s track-record as Australia’s worst domestic airline for on-time performance.
According to the latest figures nearly one in three Tiger Airways flights suffers a late departure, which is classified as being more than 15 minutes over the scheduled departure time.