Here are some miscellaneous items relating to Tiger’s grounding.
Tiger flight 5704 from Melbourne to Cairns was in-flight on Friday night when CASA grounded Tiger. The flight returned to Tullamarine airport, the ABC reports. According to passenger accounts, Tiger only said the flight was returning for safety reasons and did not specify exactly why.
PRIORITIES AND JET WHO?
The Saturday update Tiger provided said little new except that Tiger’s top priority had been to mitigate passenger disruption and then work with CASA on outstanding issues. That order preference is either questionable or non-existent and stated only for passenger empathy.
Curiously the update said “Virgin Australia has also offered to assist effected Tiger Airways’ travelers where possible over the coming week.” Tiger had hitherto not mentioned any carriers providing assistance so “also” seems imprecise. Moreover Jetstar was the first carrier to say it would help affect stranded Tiger passengers, having issued a statement at 8am–nine hours after Tiger’s grounding–saying so, but it received no mention from Tiger. Ditto for Qantas, who was the last to announce support on Saturday morning. The update was also posted on Tiger’s website.
While some attribute this to some backroom-multi-continent agreement surrounding Singapore Airlines having a stake in Tiger and also a new joint-venture with Virgin Australia, the market may offer a more logical explanation.
Qantas offered to accomodate Tiger passengers but at higher fares than Jetstar and Virgin, so that could potentially rule them out as a viable alternative. Jetstar and Virgin’s fares were largely the same, except for Melbourne to Perth where Virgin was $50 more, but normally Virgin is more expensive than Jetstar. That makes Jetstar a closer competitor to Tiger than Virgin. If stranded passengers get re-accmmodated on a Jetstar flight, they may end up sticking with the carrier and ditching Tiger, if Tiger returns to the skies. It is better than to support the normally more expensive carrier Tiger’s price-conscious passengers are likely to avoid.
Tiger Airways will have a lot of talking to do about its grounding, even if a Tiger statement concluded by saying further queries should be directed at CASA. Tiger does not follow Qantas and Virgin in making luncheon speeches and other public appearances, so word out of them can be scarce.
Later this month at the Australia Pacific Aviation Outlook Summit Tiger Australia managing director Crawford Rix is tentatively scheduled to give a speech entitled “growing existing operations to meet an increase in passenger numbers”. The grounding obviously prohibits expansion, but even before then CASA attached to Tiger’s air operator’s certificate a restriction on expansion as a result of the show cause notice. If Rix does indeed deliver a speech in three weeks’ time, it will need a new title that is hopefully backed up by an overhaul in company operations.