Tigerair Australia strategies to add a 4th Boeing 737-800 to their fleet to assist with crew training and for additional domestic flights over the busy summer holiday season.
To be based in Melbourne, the airplane will be rebranded into Tigerair livery and have its cabin reconfigured.
The particular arrival of a fourth 737 from parent Virgin is not part of Tigerair’s transition from A320s to 737s that has been announced in July, the location where the 14 A320s will be progressively substituted with Boeing 737s over the next three years as Virgin and Tigerair move to a common fleet type.
Rather it symbolizes additional capacity, with Tigerair’s fleet to increase to 18 aircraft – 16 A320s and four 737s – and is a further sign the flight is continuing to gain traction at the budget or leisure end of the market after delivering their maiden profit in 2015/16.
Currently, Tigerair’s three ex-Virgin 737-800s are being used for the low-cost carrier’s flights to Bali from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth and set up with 180 all-economy chairs with five extra-legroom rows available for purchase as an optional extra.
Typically the aircraft are flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew and stay on Virgin Australia International’s air operator’s certificate (AOC).
Tigerair has applied to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for two changes to its AOC.
The first is for the addition of the 737 on its AOC as it transitions from Airbus to Boeing equipment, with pilot working out for the 737 already underway. The second is to secure approval to use international flights.
The Tigerair spokesperson told Australian Aviators the AOC was expected to be updated in time for its own pilots to operate the Boeing narrowbody on domestic routes by the time summer rolls around.
And when the AOC is updated for international flights, Tigerair would be able to to move those 737s onto its own AOC.
“The 4th 737 aircraft will in the beginning supply for crew training purposes to be able to support our international services to Bali and then for additional household flying on the summer a few months on popular routes, ” the Tigerair spokesperson said.
Tigerair reported full year underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $2. 2 million for 2015/16, up from the loss of $37. 1 , 000, 000 a year ago. That was the first full year profit since the airline started flying in Australia under different owners in 2007 and emerged a year prior to was targeted when Virgin took full ownership of the airline in 2014.
Figures from aviation thinktank APARIENCIA – Centre for Modern aviation showed Tigerair had about a six per penny capacity share of the domestic market.
While it was a “relatively moderate figure”, and up only slightly since the airline’s transformation program commenced in mid-2013 when Virgin required its initial 60 each cent stake, CAPA said it was “sufficient to give the Virgin Quotes group a play in the price-sensitive leisure sector”.
“The current focus may limit growth opportunities but provides a sustainable specialized niche with a strong prospect of continued profitability, inches CAPA said in a research note dated August sixteen.
“As it approaches its tenth anniversary Tigerair Australia is finally profitable, and it has a relatively certain future. inch
A fourth 737 at Tigerair’s Tullamarine base has also facilitated the exchange of one A320 from Melbourne to Brisbane.
Tigerair said on Thursday it would have three A320s based in Brisbane from Mar 2017, up from two currently, and allow the airline to boost their network from the Queensland capital.
The airline will launch new Brisbane-Whitsunday Coastline and Brisbane-Perth services on March 23 and 06 1 2017, respectively, and add more flights from Brisbane to Cairns and Brisbane to Adelaide, as well as on the Sydney-Whitsunday Coast route.
Tigerair chief executive Rob Sharp said the excess services represented about 225, 000 additional chairs a year at Brisbane Airport terminal.
Once the A320 is shifted to Brisbane, Tigerair will have six A320s in Melbourne. Its third base, Sydney, has several A320s.