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New stripes aim to change perceptions of Tigerair

written by John Walton | October 21, 2015

NEWS IMAGES FOR ONLINE AND EDITORIAL USE ONLY – NO SALES/NO ADVERTISING – please credit images by James Morgan if used or issued Melbourne Airport, Australia – Wednesday 21st October 2015............ New-look Tigerair Unveiled today- CEO Rob Sharp announces new uniforms, new aircraft and new customer innovations to make flying Tigerair better than ever at Melbourne Airport today. Pictured are the crew and CEO with the new aircraft which was revealed to media at the Tigerair base earlier this morning.With a new uniform and a significant investment into its customer-facing and backend IT systems, Virgin Australia-owned low-cost carrier Tigerair is hoping to change passengers’ perceptions of the airline. 

“Our flights have never been consistently more punctual, our customer service never stronger and our customer satisfaction levels are now at an all-time high. It’s time to spread the word. A Tiger can change its stripes,” CEO Rob Sharp insisted today. 

The improvements are a mixture of backend changes — a new website that the airline advertises as “customer-friendly”, a new system for bookings and checkin, a “new and improved” call centre, and a mobile app, together with “enhanced customer communications (like SMS notifications and flight itineraries)”.  

It’s not easy to turn a low-cost carrier brand built on the perception that it is cheap and less-than-cheerful (helped along by three seasons of the Seven Network show Air Ways) into one that people think of in a context other than “well, if I don’t have the option of flying Qantas or Virgin Australia…” 

Obviously, that turnaround has been a priority since the July 2011 suspension of the then Tiger Airways by CASA on numerous safety grounds. Tigerair has just placed a 14th Airbus A320 into service, with this latest aircraft “to be based in Sydney from December 8 to facilitate more domestic flying around Australia including additional services between Sydney and Cairns and between Sydney and Adelaide”. 

The airline also intends to add Melbourne-Coffs Harbour services, and, subject to regulatory approval, its first international services to Bali from Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide starting in March 2016. These international leisure flights will replace Virgin Australia services, with Tigerair competing against the significantly larger Jetstar and AirAsia groups – using Boeing 737-800 aircraft wetleased from parent Virgin rather than the A320 jets Tigerair uses within Australia. These aircraft are expected to be rebranded into Tigerair livery and reconfigured with three rows of extra-legroom seats to replace the business class cabins on Virgin’s 737s. 

“Today marks the next chapter of Tigerair’s evolution as we continue to transform budget air travel in Australia,” CEO Rob Sharp announced today from the airline’s Melbourne headquarters. “I am thrilled to be here today to unveil our newest addition to the fleet, new uniforms for our cabin crew, pilots and ground staff, announce a new and improved call centre and numerous further customer innovations like our new-look website and upgraded check in and booking system.” 

The new uniforms are smart and upmarket for an LCC – and an improvement on the older versions – although the women cabin crew’s uniforms do bear something of an unfortunate resemblance to a soft serve ice cream dipped into orange hundreds and thousands. 

Yet beyond subjective questions of uniform style and promises of customer-friendly websites, the crux of the matter is what the future holds for Tigerair and its branding given the duopoly of Qantas+Jetstar and Virgin+Tigerair in Australian aviation. With both Australian low-cost carriers using orange as their core colour, would there be any purpose in a full Tigerair rebrand, perhaps to a name with less baggage? 

“When we rebranded to Tigerair and the joint venture with Virgin Australia was first launched in July 2013, we made a promise to Australian consumers that we would listen and we would change. The past couple of years have been focused on rebuilding the business and putting the right platform in place for future sustainable growth, with the customer at the core of everything we do,” Sharp said. “Today I can proudly say we are delivering on those promises.”  

“We’re an airline that evolves based on customer feedback and demand.  All of the new product enhancements announced today makes it easier, more convenient and seamless than ever to fly Tigerair,” Sharp concluded. 

It’s that ease that customers want, and the key to Tigerair’s future will be delivering a convenient and pleasant experience while also ensuring that the ancillary revenue opportunities and operational efficiency so key to finally pulling Tigerair into the black are achieved too. 

NEWS IMAGES FOR ONLINE AND EDITORIAL USE ONLY – NO SALES/NO ADVERTISING – please credit images by James Morgan if used or issued Melbourne Airport, Australia – Wednesday 21st October 2015............ New-look Tigerair Unveiled today- CEO Rob Sharp announces new uniforms, new aircraft and new customer innovations to make flying Tigerair better than ever at Melbourne Airport today. Pictured are the crew and CEO with the new aircraft which was revealed to media at the Tigerair base earlier this morning.

Comments (11)

  • James

    says:

    The 14th aircraft has already arrived, it was the backdrop aircraft – VHXUH

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Thanks @James – the story has been corrected.

  • Paul

    says:

    Had they kept with the much roomier, more spacious and better A320 for the Perth-Bali route as with the domestic fleet, I may have considered flying with them but not on a cramped squashy 737 that they intend using on this route. I’ll stick with Garuda and their A330 for sure now.

  • tony moore

    says:

    I have been using Tiger for over 6 months on a regular basis travelling between Melbourne and Sydney.
    Best kept secret but I suppose it had to come out eventually. At on average half the price of Virgin and Qantas it was something I had to investigate. Apart from one friday night disaster and I have had those particularly on Virgin, the flights have been on time, legroom is equivalent, staff are efficient and courteous and who needs a crummy cake for breakfast for a one hour flight.
    Another plus is the fact that getting on and off the plane is so much more efficient with front and back doors open for the sake of walking on the tarmac.
    One downside is hanging around in the metal containers prior to boarding at Melbourne in the winter, not nice.
    Go Tiger.
    P.S. Love the humour over the tannoy onboard welcoming the infrequent flyers……

  • Peter

    says:

    I have flown tiger air and i think the one thing a new uniform won’t fix is the total lack of leg room. Jet star gives you enough room to at least move your knees a little where tiger your knees are firmly stuck in the seat infront. I hope that Tiger with the new approach will take cumfort into consideration because that’s the one area that makes me use jetstar. The staff and flight attendants at Tiger have been fantastic every time I have flown Tiger, its the lack of room that kills the experience.

  • Rumsey

    says:

    I think the comment about the female staff uniforms is a bit unkind.

  • peter martin

    says:

    I regularly use Tiger Hobart to Melbourne. Timing nearly always suits me better even though am a silver qantas . BUT LEGROOM needs to be addressed for the AVERAGE australian leg not some international standard. I need to see an osteopath after each flight with ALL carriers and I am 185cm.
    I can fly internationally for 10 hours and walk off fresh nut one hour domestically ruins my back.
    I did a straw poll recently with my clients and they all confirmed similar back problems due to being sardined!

  • Keef

    says:

    I would simply have re branded them as Virgin Blue and brought back the old Virgin uniforms and livery. It was a great product at a great price and could certainly have been developed into a strong rival for Jetstar.

  • I totally agree with the comments regarding leg-room on Tiger’s A320s. My knees so troubled the lady passenger in the seat in front that she complained to the cabin- (flight- ?, safety-?) attendant who then required me to move to a seat away from my wife rather than asking the complainant to move, which she could have done as there was a vacant seat beside her and she didn’t seem to be accompanying anyone.
    Wasn’t impressed by the customer service.

  • franz chong

    says:

    I could be wrong here but people are confusing the product for the bad old days and that Corinne Grant Channel 7 show Airways hosted back in the day.As an alternative Adelaide to Melbourne to a Firefly Coach for anything from 9 to 12 hours or the Overland that works out about the same or the Daylink Express via Bendigo It’s alright or even driving yourself but for us loyal folks to Qantas and Virgin more needs to be done to convince us to get Tiger a go even if it’s only a one off.

  • Freddie

    says:

    No Airline in Australian history has started off perfect from day one. Certainly this one has had and still does have it’s problems – particularly leg room. It will improve at some stage – yet to be decided no doubt and then it will be an Airline to be contended with. Look out both QF, VA and Jetstar.

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