‘Farewell’: Aussie airline officially dead
Low-cost carrier Tigerair has been shut down after almost 13 years of flying Australia's skies.
The airline released a statement on Thursday night informing customers of the "difficult" decision that follows a devastating downturn in travel due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
"There is no denying these are tough times for everyone in the travel and tourism industry," the statement said.
"And sadly, after nearly 13 years of operation we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Tigerair Australia brand.
"Since our very first flight on November 23, 2007 from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, we've provided affordable air travel to more than 30 million customers across Australia, and through the commitment of our people, past and present, created a family of 1.2 million along the way."
Customers who have travel credit with Tigerair will be able to put it towards flights operated by Virgin Australia, the airline said.
Tigerair's demise was announced by Virgin Australia last month as it outlined its road map out of voluntary administration under its new owner Bain Capital.
Virgin said there was "not sufficient customer demand to support two brands at this time" but it would retain Tigerair's Air Operator Certificate so there was the option of reviving it in the future "when the domestic market can support it".
All Tigerair flights were grounded during the COVID-19 pandemic and its pilots were made redundant in a restructure announced by Virgin in March.
Tigerair, based in Melbourne, operated domestic routes to Australia's capital cities and key regional centres and was the only direct competitor to Qantas' Jetstar.
Virgin acquired Tigerair in 2014 as it shed its budget origins and grew into a full-service airline, paying Singapore Airlines $1 for full ownership.
Online, Australian flyers shared memories of flying with Tigerair and lamented the end of its super-cheap airfares.
Vale Tigerair. You saved me a lot of money over the past few years and were usually more reliable than the other airlines 😢 https://t.co/NafKeaG07x— Sam Wilkinson (@WilkoSam) September 10, 2020
I for one will miss Tiger Air. Many complained. But as someone who travelled to Queensland regularly to see family, it was vital and did the job. I don't need a stale muffin and stretched smile. And after hundreds of flights, I was never delayed.— Ahron Young (@AhronYoung) September 10, 2020
RIP Tigerair.— Gabriel T (@AmazingGab16) September 10, 2020
You gave me so much memories.
So no more Tigerair meaning no more $50 flights to Adelaide 🥺— BeniyaBaba (@nyamaltear) September 10, 2020
Oof TigerAir Australia shutting down now who will I get my uncomfortably turbulent but extremely cheap flights through?— now i am jaBBu-D2 (@tkjabbu) September 10, 2020
Just got an email to say TigerAir just folded and like I’m legit sad about it— Ann De Saturdays (@djlellin) September 10, 2020
aww :( thank u for giving me affordable flights to see my friends and family for years tigerair 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/9TpoRDZbc0— ✿ mish ✿ (@lgbtminari) September 10, 2020
The news comes a day after Virgin Australia announced it was slashing a string of regional routes as part of its restructure.
The airline said flights will be cut from Ayers Rock (Uluru), Albury, Tamworth, Hervey Bay, Mildura, Cloncurry and Tonga "for the foreseeable future".
"With the changes to simplifying our fleet and ongoing subdued customer demand, we have been required to make some adjustments to our network," a Virgin spokesperson said.
"We remain committed to regional Australia and we plan to continue to fly to 20 regional destinations in Australia. We will continue to review our network as travel restrictions ease and demand returns.
"We will contact affected guests who booked with us to advise them of their options. Guests who booked with a travel agent will need to contact them directly."
US private equity firm Bain Capital's $3.5 billion plan to take over the airline was accepted by creditors at a meeting last week.
Under Bain, Virgin Australia will cull 3000 jobs and several aircraft as it rebrands as a "value airline" with a focus on domestic and short-haul international flights.
The job cuts affect about one-third of the Brisbane-based airline's workforce across cabin crew, ground crew, engineers, baggage handlers and some international head office staff.
The airline will also suspend all long-haul international flights and transition to a single Boeing 737 fleet for domestic and short-haul international travel, which means it will ditch its ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and A320 aircraft.
Originally published as 'Farewell': Aussie airline officially dead