4-Jul-2011 8:01 AM

CASA grounds Tiger Airways Australia

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspended (02-Jul-2011) all Tiger Airways Australia’s domestic services until 09-Jul-2011 due to "immediate and imminent" safety concerns. Passengers affected will be offered a full refund or credit for deferred travel by Tiger Airways. Tiger Airways’ services to and from Singapore are not affected and will continue to operate normally. CASA is considering seeking court approval to extend the grounding of the LCC. Airline responses include: [more]

  • Jetstar will (02-Jul-2011) offer special fares to customers who had booked to travel on Tiger Airways’ domestic Australian network over the next week, but have had their flight cancelled, in order to minimise the impact on their travel plans; [more]
  • Qantas will (02-Jul-2011) offer special fares to passengers affected by the suspension of Tiger Airways domestic Australian services to minimise the impact. Qantas will also monitor the need to schedule additional services; [more]
  • Virgin Australia will (02-Jul-2011) accommodate affected Tiger passengers on current services "where possible" with the carrier putting on additional services over the coming week. Virgin's special fares will be for travel until 08-Jul-2011 and are subject to availability. [more]

Singapore-based parent company Tiger Airways Holdings estimated the weekly cost of the grounding at SGD2 million (USD1.6 million). Tiger's board has directed Group CEO Tony Davis to focus on assisting Tiger Airways Australia to resume operations as soon as possible. Chin Yau Seng has been appointed as an additional Executive Director with effect from 04-Jul-2011, who will work with Mr Davis in providing oversight of the rest of the company’s interests.

Other responses to Tiger's grounding include:

  • Australia’s Transport Minister Anthony Albanese supported CASA’s decision (AAP, 02-Jul-2011). It is the first time CASA has grounded an entire airline. CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the action was not taken lightly and was the culmination of a number of events this year;
  • Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) secretary Steve Purvinas stated Tiger Airways Australia's safety problems will not be easily addressed and said the airline could be grounded for weeks (AAP, 02-Jul-2011). Tiger's cheap fares had created a "race to the bottom" that makes things tougher on other airlines, Mr Purvinas claims, adding that issues on aircraft should be routinely reported to engineers, a process made difficult at Tiger because they do not have in-house engineers.
  • Australian and International Pilots Association vice president Richard Woodward said that public trust was being “eroded” every day Tiger's fleet remains on the ground, adding the grounding could be “terminal” if it drags on longer than a couple of weeks. "With a strong parent company behind them in Singapore, I don't think the initial loss of cash flow will be a problem. But it's whether they will have the will to reinvigorate the airline," Mr Woodward stated.

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