Australia’s Tigerair Closes Down After 13 Years Of Operation

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After 13 years of connecting Australian communities, budget airline Tigerair Australia has officially ceased operations. This action was first announced on August 5th and was a result of the unfortunate downturn in the aviation sector.

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Virgin Australia fully acquired Tigerair in 2014. Virgin Australia’s new owners, Bain Capital, decided to shut the brand down. Photo: Mertie via Flickr 

The end of Tigerair

Sometimes goodbyes are never the way we imagine them to be. It was actually back at the end of March that Tigerair operated its final flight. However, at the time operations ceased, few would have been able to predict that the airline would no longer fly again.

Much earlier today, Tigerair posted the following notice on its Facebook page:

As we begin to farewell Tigerair Australia, our social channels will soon no longer be available. We will be merging this channel with our parent company Virgin Australia to ensure continued support for Tigerair customers.

This is one of the final steps Tigerair is taking to erase itself from Australia’s aviation sector. So how did we get here?

Steps towards closure

As with many actions taken by the airline industry recently, it all began with the onset of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that the pandemic sparked. This is what forced the airline to suspend its operations at the end of March. However, at that time, there was little clarity to the full extent and ramifications of the crisis. Even the airline’s March message called its suspension of operations ‘temporary.’

Then at the end of June, Virgin Australia’s administrators announced that Bain Capital was the preferred party to buy the struggling airline. Tigerair came as part of this as Virgin Australia was its parent company, having fully acquired it in 2014.

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The Tigerair brand will disappear from Australia’s skies. Photo: Getty Images

“Sadly, after 13 years of operations, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Tigerair Australia brand…Since our very first flight on 23 November 2007 from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, we’ve provided affordable air travel to more than 30 million customers across Australia.” -Tigerair Australia

Its new owners had to make difficult decisions in its journey to rebuilding the carrier. Then, at the beginning of August, a Virgin Australia statement said the following:

“The Tigerair brand will be discontinued in the market as there is not sufficient customer demand to support two carriers at this time. Tigerair Australia’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) will be retained to support optionality to operate an ultra-low-cost carrier in the future when the domestic market can support it.”

The axing of Tigerair was part of Virgin Australia’s plan to emerge as “a stronger, more profitable and competitive” carrier.

Where do things go from here?

Sometimes when an airline goes under, travelers with bookings are completely stranded and their payments lost without the help of insurance. Thankfully, in this case, customers in possession of Tigerair travel credit can use it on flights Virgin Australia-operated flights.

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Virgin Australia will be accepting Tigerair travel credit. Photo: Getty Images

With the exit of Tigerair, Qantas-owned Jetstar is now the only low-cost airline in Australia.

Will you be sad to see Tigerair go? Share your experiences, good and bad, by leaving a comment.

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