LONDON – Tigerair Australia (TT) has become the victim of bankruptcy through Virgin Australia’s (VA) downfall and change-up. New owner Bain Capital secured its demise.

Whilst the Air Operator’s Certificate will remain active, the airline will not. Yesterday, the airline issued a statement confirming its quietus.

The airline said, “Due to impacts related to COVID-19, the Tigerair Australia brand has been discontinued.”

Tigerair Australia will provide its customers with a travel credit at equivalent value for use on Virgin Australia operated services.

Boeing 737 of Tigerair Australia. The low cost brand has been discontinued in the simplification efforts. Photo: Mitch Coad

The History

Commencing operations in November 2007 as Tiger Airways Australia, the airline has been part of Australia’s low-cost model for over 10 years.

Tiger Airways Holdings, based in Singapore, was able to acquire a footing into the market through this subsidiary.

The airline aimed for initial targets of two million passengers per year.

In April 2009, the airline scrapped its policy of avoiding expensive airports by launching the Melbourne-Sydney route.

It started off initially with five aircraft and US$10m. TT7402 was the first flight that departed, operating the Melbourne-Gold Coast rotation.

This specific operation was the fifth busiest passenger route in the world at that time. By July, Brisbane became a big focus for the airline, operating to Melbourne, Adelaide and Rockhampton.

The year 2010 hit and the airline had announced it became profitable.


The Virgin Australia Era

In 2012, Virgin Australia Holding announced that it wanted to purchase 60% of the airline.

The acquisition was completed by July 2013, after the airline had changed its name to Tigerair Australia.

October 2014 came around, and Virgin America (VX) had announced its intention to purchase the remaining 40% for US$1.

Photo: James Field

International and Domestic Routes

From there, VA acquired and retained the Tigerair name and acquired the brand rights to operate to some international destinations.

The international destinations in question was services to Denpasar from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Between 2015-2019, the airline launched several routes on the domestic front.

Examples of this were the resumption of Canberra-Melbourne, Canberra-Brisbane, and more. It featured the suspension of flights to Bali too.

Photo: James Field

From Tigerair CEO to Executive General Manager

September 2019 came along and the CEO and Managing Director of VA Paul Scurrah unveiled changes in structure.

This consisted of the Tigerair CEO position to disappear, with an Executive General Manager reporting to Scurrah.

By February 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc, VA announced a reduction of the Tigerair fleet.

From 13 down to eight, the closure of the Brisbane base followed. March 2020 was the official date that TT ceased operations.

Photo: Canberra Airport

Looking Ahead

With Tigerair considered a memory in history, the Air Operator’s Certificate remains the only thing left.

With it active, this enables VA to potentially resume this operation in the future.

It will be interesting looking into the future what plans the Virgin Australia Holdings has. It is all about recovery at the moment.

Time will tell what will happen and whether we may see the Tiger back in the sky again.

Featured Image: VH-VNO, a Tigerair Australia Airbus A320 seen departing Brisbane Airport (BNE). Photo: James Field