Tiger Airways gears up for its operations in Australia
09/19/2007|8:32:00 AM|Eyefortravel
Singapore-based Tiger Airways landed its first plane in Melbourne, signalling a major step towards introduction of its cut-price domestic flight services. The airline plans to start domestic flights in Australia in early December. (9/17/2007)

The Tiger Airways aircraft was in Melbourne as part of a Civil Aviation Safety Authority approval process.

Tiger Airways flights are scheduled to begin subject to Federal Government approval. The domestic network will link with Tiger Airways’ existing Asian routes.

In May, Tiger said it expected to carry up to two million passengers in the first year of its operations, adding it hoped to “break the duopoly” of discount rivals Jetstar and Virgin Blue. Tiger Airways, which is a 49 percent owned by Singapore Airlines, would base its Australian operations at Melbourne Airport.

Earlier this month, Tiger Airways opted to restructure its business for aggressive expansion into the Asia-Pacific. It decided to regroup itself into a company with wholly-owned budget carriers. It plans to franchise its brand and support services to local subsidiaries, starting with its bases in Singapore and Australia. And to oversee the effort, it has appointed a new independent chairman, Daniel Ee.

Tony Davis, CEO, Tiger Airways, said: “The structure we’ve put in place today with Tiger Aviation as the group company - owning 100 percent of Tiger Singapore and 100 percent of Tiger Australia - really enables us to take the key attributes of the business, the brand, the distribution model, marketing efforts, our financial efforts and share those across the whole group structure.” The new structure will allow Tiger the flexibility to create airline subsidiaries and joint ventures in markets such as China and India.

Davis said: “We don’t foresee the need for shareholders to put any more money at this point. We’ve self-financed the aircraft fleet thus far. Our launch of services in Australia has been self-financed. We believe there’s enough cash and access to cash within the business for our immediate needs.”

“There’s no IPO schedule. That’s a decision shareholders will have to make... based on market conditions and the performance of the business.”

Tiger Airways saw a 46 percent jump in first quarter passenger numbers compared to a year ago, while revenue climbed 84 percent. Davis declined to say if the company is now profitable, but said the group is investing all its cash for growth.