Tiger Airways.

The in-depth histories of the individual aircraft that were operated by Tiger Airways and Tigerair.


Background Information.


Current Australian government policy and legislation permits airlines that are 100% foreign-owned to operate domestic airline services within Australia. This change in regulations originally applied only to New Zealand-owned airlines in 1996 but was later relaxed, resulting in the establishment of Virgin Australia. Australian international airlines are still subject to ownership rules that limit foreign ownership to 49%.

The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board gave approval for Tiger Airways (Singapore) to establish its wholly owned Australian subsidiary in March 2007 without any special conditions. On March 16, 2007 Tiger Airways Australia Pty Ltd was incorporated in the Northern Territory, although the company is based in the city of Melbourne with Melbourne Airport being the airline's major hub. Five aircraft and $AUD 10 million were committed to start the subsidiary.

The airline's business model was based on that of sister airline Tiger Airways which included attempting to increase the total market size (number of passengers), control operating costs and maximise the number of sectors served. One way it planned to keep costs low was by avoiding expensive airports.

Tiger undertook the final stage of Australian regulatory procedures on  November 20, 2007. It successfully performed two proving flights from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast and Launceston. Each carried officials from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as well as Tiger crew. Tiger received its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) on November 22, 2007. The airline projected initial traffic of 2 million passengers annually. Tiger Airways Australia's first scheduled flight was TT 7402, which departed from Melbourne for the Gold Coast on November 23, 2007.

The Civil Aviation Safety of Australia (CASA) grounded the airline in 2011 due to safety concerns. As a result the operating bases at Adelaide and Melbourne (Avalon) were shut down and it initially only operated out of its Melbourne base after returning to the air.

In October 2012 Virgin Australia Holdings announced its intention to purchase 60% of Tiger Airways Australia. The deal was completed in July 2013, after the airline had changed its name to Tigerair Australia. In July 2013, Tiger Airways Australia changed its name to Tigerair Australia.

Virgin Australia Holdings announced plans on October 17, 2014 to acquire the remining 40% stake held by Tiger Airways Holdings for $AUD 1.00. Virgin would retain the Tigerair name and acquire the brand rights for Tigerair to operate to some international destinations from Australia.

On August 07, 2015 it was announced that Tigerair Australia would begin operating its first ever international services to Denpasar from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth beginning from March 23, 2016. The arrival of Tiger Airways Australia in the market resulted in varied responses from its primary competitors, mainly Qantas Airways (and its subsidiary Jetstar Airways) and Virgin Australia.

Jetstar was particularly vocal with its then chief executive Alan Joyce quoted as saying ‘Tiger and what they have done have come across as a joke, and will probably continue that way’. He claimed that Tiger was losing over $SGD 60 million over the previous two years of operations out of Singapore.

Air fares began to drop as special offers and other promotions were launched, such as Jetstar's announcement that it would "double the difference of any competitor's fare that is cheaper than its own fares".  This was soon followed by a bonus system to entice its customers to stay with the airline. Jetstar immediately matched Tiger's Melbourne to Darwin fare upon its announcement.

Tiger Airways Australia had previously been quoted as planning to offer "single digit" one-way fares when it began service. The announcement of $AUD 79.99 flights from Melbourne to Darwin was met with criticism from Jetstar.

When Tiger released its first route - Melbourne to Darwin - at a price of $AUD 79.99 Jetstar immediately undercut the price by offering fares of $AUD 79.00 on the same route over the same period. When Tiger released its second route - Melbourne to Gold Coast - at a price of $AUD 49.95 Jetstar again undercut the price, offering $AUD 39.00 fares on the route over the same period. In response to Tiger's announcement of Melbourne to Launceston flights for $AUD 39.95

Jetstar offered $AUD 29.00 flights over the same period except for a holiday blackout. Virgin Australia considered the possibility of establishing a low-cost offshoot to fend off Tiger Airways but decided to focus on its new trans-Pacific carrier ‘V Australia’ and on increasing its business travel share by introducing a Premium Economy service.


Tiger Airways Australia is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Australia Holdings. Virgin Australia announced on October 30, 2012 it was proposing to purchase a 60% stake in Tigerair Australia for $AUD 35 million. Tigerair and Virgin said they would spend up to $AUD 62.5 million on Tiger Australia to increase its fleet from 11 aircraft to 35 by 2018. Tiger would continue to operate as a low cost subsidiary of Virgin Australia for 20 years.

The ACCC announced on April 23, 2013 that it would not oppose this merger. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said that Tigerair would be "highly unlikely to remain in the local market if the proposed acquisition didn't proceed".

Virgin Australia purchased on October 17, 2014 the remaining 40% of Tigerair Australia that was owned by Singapore Airlines. This made Virgin Australia the sole owner of Tigerair Australia. As of October 2015 Virgin Australia took full ownership of Tigerair Australia, taking over from Tigerair Singapore meaning all operations are now done locally in Australia.


Tigerair Expansion

Tigerair Australia recommenced services in 2011 out of a single base in Melbourne. In July 2012, a second base was opened at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.  A third operating base was then opened at Brisbane Airport in March 2014.

International services

Tigerair Australia expanded into short-haul international flights when Virgin Australia transferred some of its services between Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali to Tigerair from March 23, 2016. These services use three Boeing 737-800 aircraft wet-leased from Virgin Australia and using Virgin's A.O.C. and flight crew, with Tigerair providing the cabin crew. On February 03, 2017 Tigerair ended flights to Bali, citing approval issues with Indonesian authorities.

Tigerair Australia joined Value Alliance on May 16, 2016 the world's largest low-cost carrier alliance. The new alliance was started alongside the Philippines' Cebu Pacific, South Korea's Jeju Air, Thailand's Nok Air and NokScoot, Singapore's Tigerair and Scoot and Japan's Vanilla Air. It left the alliance in 2018.

In November 2016, Tigerair sought approval to operate expanded international services under its own air operator's certificate using both A320s and 737s.

Virgin Australia Holdings Managing Director and CEO Paul Scurrah unveiled a new organisational structure for his executive leadership team on September 02, 2019. It was designed to bring the three flying businesses – Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) and Tigerair Australia – closer together. Under this structure, the position of CEO Tigerair ceased to exist, with the operations of Tigerair being led by an Executive General Manager accountable for the relevant Air Operator's Certificate and reporting to the VAH Chief Operations Officer, and commercial and corporate functions reporting centrally within the Group.

In February 2020, Virgin Australia Holdings announced it would reduce Tigerair's fleet from 13 to eight, exit five loss-making routes, and close its Brisbane base. Operations were suspended on March 25, 2020 as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. On April 03, 2020 all pilots were made redundant following Virgin Australian Holdings being placed into administration and later sold. Its new owner, Bain Capital, confirmed the brand would be retired. Tigerair was officially discontinued by Bain on September 10, 2020. Its Air Operator’s Certificate (A.O.C.)  was retained for potential revival at a later date.