Low-cost operator Tigerair Australia will cease operations owing to a lack of demand in the Australian market.
Parent company Virgin Australia states that it was shutting its low-cost arm down as “there is not sufficient customer demand to support two carriers at this time”, in an oblique reference to rival low-cost carrier Jetstar. Tigerair Australia has been grounded since March.
The move comes as Virgin Australia, itself exiting voluntary administration under new owners, outlines a leaner operation model that will also see it operate only Boeing 737 aircraft.
However, Virgin Australia will retain Tigerair Australia’s air operator certificate, “to support optionality to operate an ultra-low-cost carrier in the future when the domestic market can support it”.
Cirium fleets data shows the low-cost carrier used to operate a fleet of 15 narrowbodies, comprising nine Airbus A320s, and six 737-800s.
Virgin Australia says as part of streamlining measures, it will be disposing of the Airbus aircraft. It is unclear if the 737s will be moved to mainline operations.
Tigerair Australia operated a domestic network, flying key trunk routes like Melbourne to Sydney, Brisbane, and Gold Coast. It was grounded in March as part of capacity cuts at parent Virgin Australia. The carrier also cited “expanded travel restrictions imposed by the federal and state governments and territories” to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Separately, Virgin Australia says it will “review options” for its regional unit, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, “including different operating models to support continued regional and charter flying”.
The regional and charter fleet will remain in the interim while Virgin Australia weighs its options. Perth-based Virgin Australia Regional Airlines operates five A320s, with another in storage. It also has 11 Fokker 100 in operation, with two more in storage.