Tigerair counts down to new Bali service

Tigerair Australia's first Boeing 737-800 at Melbourne Airport.
Tigerair Australia’s first Boeing 737-800 on display at Melbourne Airport.

Tigerair Australia chief executive Rob Sharp says events such as the volcanic ash cloud and Jakarta terrorist attacks have not dampened demand for the low-cost carrier’s proposed Bali flights due to kick off in March.

The Virgin Australia-owned airline has completed the reconfiguration and repainting of the first of three Boeing 737-800s, VH-VUB, that will be used to operate Adelaide-Bali, Melbourne-Bali and Perth-Bali flights from March 23.

The 737s, which will remain on Virgin Australia’s air operators certificate and be flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew, are being repainted at the Flying Colours paintshop in Townsville, while the seat reconfiguration work is being carried out by Virgin’s engineering unit at Melbourne Tullamarine.

With about seven weeks to go until the inaugural services take off, Sharp says ticket sales so far have been “tracking to our business plan”.

“We are very pleased with the take-up,” Sharp told reporters at Melbourne Airport on Monday.

“Ash cloud and also the events in Jakarta recently obviously do have impacts on airlines and people travelling. Having said that, Bali is just one of those destinations Australians love and people are still very keen to travel to Bali.”

Tigerair announced in August it was taking over the three Bali routes from parent Virgin. The 180-seat all-economy cabin features three rows of extra leg room seats with 34-inch pitch at the front of the aircraft, while the regular economy seat has 31-inch pitch. There are also two over wing exit rows that feature 39-inch pitch.

The Bali flights will also offer a mix of free and paid wireless inflight entertainment that passengers will be able to access on their own personal electronic devices, while a selection of hot and cold food and drinks can be pre-purchased online or while on board.

The airline expected to carry a full payload of passengers in both directions between Melbourne and Bali – which clocks in at almost six hours and was one of the longest routes served by narrowbody aircraft – on all but a handful of days during the year when wind conditions could restrict the number of seats sold.

Since the announcement, the airline has been training cabin crew to operate the Boeing 737-800, which is a new type to the Tigerair fleet given it currently operates 14 Airbus A320s.

About 70 cabin crew have been certified for 737 operations, with more to be added over the coming months.

The airline said it had recruited more than 100 cabin crew to support both the new Bali flights and new domestic flying.

Tigerair Australia's Boeing 737-800 will seat 180 passengers.
Tigerair Australia’s Boeing 737-800s will seat 180 passengers.
Tigerair Australia Boeing 737-800 cabin interior.
Tigerair Australia 737-800 cabin interior.
The first three rows of Tigerair Australia's Boeing 737-800s feature extra leg room seats.
The first three rows of Tigerair Australia’s 737s feature extra leg room seats.

Meanwhile, Tigerair has secured Australian regulator approval, international traffic rights and landing and takeoff slots at the busy Denpasar Airport for its three services, with the green light from Indonesian regulators one of the last remaining steps in the approvals process.

The three Tigerair 737s – a second aircraft recently entered the paintshop – have all gone through a heavy maintenance check and will be based at Melbourne, taking the total number of Tigerair aircraft at Tullamarine to 10.

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi said the Tigerair flights to Bali was “more good news for Victoria”.

“Tigerair will bring more price competition to Bali, a destination that just continues to grow in popularity,” Strambi said.

Victorian Minister for Industry Lily D’Ambrosio welcomed the expansion of Tigerair Australia’s network to include international destinations, given the new jobs that have been created as part of the airline’s growth.

“The benefits to the broader economy are clear for all to see,” D’Ambrosio said.

“We are very excited about these new jobs here.”

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi, Victorian Minister for Industry Lily D’Ambrosio and Tigerair Australia chief executive Rob Sharp. (Tigerair Australia)
Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi, Victorian Minister for Industry Lily D’Ambrosio and Tigerair Australia chief executive Rob Sharp. (Tigerair Australia)

Comments

  1. Raymond says

    It’s all nice and rosy talking about new jobs etc., however I can’t help thinking that this isn’t really looking at the bigger picture… which is that encouraging domestic tourism is preferable than cheaply flying plane loads of people internationally.

    Yes, there are extra jobs being created, but what is the net job difference compared to if these people were holidaying here? It’s a better economic and employment outcome overall for Australia to have tourists spending money locally rather than going overseas to spend it.

  2. Peter Watkins says

    Hmmm 6 hours on a narrow body low-cost carrier to Bali from Melbourne. Sounds like a load of fun. Glad I will never have to do that trip!!!

  3. Ian Mackintosh says

    OH please, how precious. If people want to go to Bali then they’ll go if not with Tiger then with Garuda. Stop trying to dictate to people what their social obligations are.

  4. Marc says

    @Raymond
    Aussies go to Asia to seek value while Australia is a very expensive place to visit. What part of economics do you not understand?

  5. GBRGB says

    Its about choices the end and filling planes, many want an overseas experience and a change of culture. Numbers would suggest Bali is as popular as ever. If you looked at value and product most would head to Bali over a place like Cairns which is very expensive, most of the hotels in Cairns are old and run down, nothing has changed in 20 years or more where Bali has many new hotels and many others have been upgraded. For some the security of somewhere like Cairns though makes it more appealing to them.

  6. louie says

    Hmm,don`t forget that brand (Tiger Air) is own by three foreign governments too and that`s are international flights.

  7. Scott says

    Clearly some of the last few posts didn’t even read the article.
    31 , 34 or 39″ are the seat pitch on offer.

    More options with more room then other carrier’s from my understanding.

    I thought QF’s 737s and JQ 320’s are all 31″ or less in Econ, does anyone have seat pitch facts on Airasia 330 or JQ 787’s, they must be set at 40″ or greater to be “not cramped” compared to the three options above.

    I’ll stand corrected though with some facts about the seat pitch.

  8. Samuel MacLachlan says

    Not bad for a budget airline. That seat pitch of 31in is standard in Virgin Australia 737-800’s which I don’t find unpleasant. Sounds like its just a VA flight but with a tiger badge on the plane, and without the free food.

  9. Raymond says

    Marc, I understand that the cost of living / holidaying there may be cheaper. My comment concerned the jobs factor, which always gets spruiked as a big plus, whereas I was making an observation that it’s not really looking at the overall picture of the potential impact on Australian jobs.

    If one wants to go to Bali, all the best. I hope you don’t become a victim of terrorism, drug muling or something else you’ll bitterly regret. Indonesian law cares very little for you when it all goes wrong as we’ve witnessed many times.

  10. Shane says

    @Raymond
    “I hope you don’t become a victim of terrorism, drug muling or something else you’ll bitterly regret. Indonesian law cares very little for you when it all goes wrong as we’ve witnessed many times.”

    What an utterly ridiculous statement! Millions of tourists visit somewhere like Bali every year, but you’re worried about an attack which happened 14 years ago and one random bogan from the GC who tried to take pot over to Bali??
    Might be time to lay off the A Current Affair mate

  11. Mick says

    @Louie – Tigerair Australia is owned 100% by Virgin Australia who purchased it from Singapore Airlines in 2013/14, so apart from name it has nothing to do with the other Tigerair airlines in Asia.

    @Raymond – Glass half full, mate! How many Aussies go to Bali each year vs the number who get caught up in unfortunate incidents either of their own doing or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This initiative from VA/TT is not a bad thing – so just like the tides and the moon – let it be.

  12. Raymond says

    Again, my original comment was largely concerned with net employment and not an objection to any initiative of VA / TT.

    The world, especially in countries such as Indonesia, is becoming more uncertain and volatile. Things are getting worse, not better, and it’s plain to see. Also, just to clarify, there have been terrorist attacks in Indonesia more recently and the threat is real and ongoing and cannot be denied.

  13. says

    I think this is a great move from Tigerair/Virgin.

    However, seems to be a glance over of Virgin Pilots operating Tiger planes? Seems like the Tiger pilots are going to get shafted on this deal!?

    I think Wide-bodies are needed for any serious international competition. Jetstar are way ahead of the game with fuel efficient 787’s and route’s; there needs to be a catch up game plan and fast by JB/Sharp to even call themselves in the running to expand.

    I hope that existing staff at Tiger are treated fairly in what looks like to be a merger or growth of one side of a business they seem to not be involved with.

    Hopefully the competition Tigerair bring to this route will be good for all!

  14. louie says

    Mick says

    February 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    @Louie – Tigerair Australia is owned 100% by Virgin Australia who purchased it from Singapore Airlines in 2013/14, so apart from name it has nothing to do with the other Tigerair airlines in Asia.

    hmmmm Mick , so who own virgin Australia then?