Tigerair Australia has signed a two-year heavy maintenance contract for its Airbus A320 fleet with SIA Engineering Company Limited (SIAEC), with the work to be carried out by SIAEC and its joint venture company, SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corporation, at their facilities in Singapore and Clark, Philippines respectively.
Tigerair Australia chief executive Rob Sharp told Australian Aviation the arrangement was a key part of Tigerair’s ongoing turnaround efforts.
“The turnaround of Tigerair and building a sustainable business was pretty much predicated around addressing the key concerns that people had which was cancelling of flights and on-time performance,” Sharp explained while in Singapore for the announcement of the Value Alliance low cost carrier alliance.
“So putting in that robust structure meant that we needed to address our engineering aspects. Very pleasingly, the line maintenance which was with BAE Systems domestically has provided a good platform. Our heavy maintenance, that’s the major engineering works, is a very important part of the airline activity base. It also underpins safety. Singapore Engineering is a high quality engineering facility and they have successfully won the tender process. We have a deep relationship with them so we very much looking forward to spending a couple of years developing that relationship and having the engineering work done.”
Getting the work done in Australia was not really an option, he added.
“Engineering activities that are done daily can be done in Australia. Heavy engineering is very labour intensive. Its efficiency is based on critical mass and historically Australia has struggled to develop the critical mass as well as the labour cost competitiveness to actually compete in that space. So we have gone out to the best of breed across the Asia-Pacific region, which is reasonably close to Australia so in terms of actually getting your aircraft there keeps the cost down and you can also tap into the expertise and efficiencies. Singapore Engineering has a number of their own aircraft here in Singapore but they also have a number of other airlines customers, meaning they have ended up with a very large facility and the critical mass that keeps their costs efficient.”
Tigerair had looked at a number of suppliers across the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
“What that process entailed was looking at safety, their experience with A320 aircraft specifically. We have some aircraft that are coming to end of lease and there is quite substantial engineering work involved with end-of-lease activities so we were also looking for expertise in that and obviously a competitive price because ultimately we are a low cost carrier and the cost is one element of it. We then weighed up all of those criteria. Singapore Engineering came out well ahead and we were very happy to enter into a long term arrangement with them.”
Chief executive of SIAEC Png Kim Chiang said the company was pleased to be entrusted with the heavy maintenance checks of Tigerair Australia’s A320 fleet.
“This agreement demonstrates the confidence and excellent relationship between Tigerair Australia and SIAEC. With our MRO experience on Airbus aircraft, built over a span of three decades, we are confident of delivering quality services and engineering support to Tigerair Australia’s A320 fleet.”
Tigerair currently operates a fleet of 14 A320s serving 11 destinations within Australia, as well as three Boeing 737-800s used to serve Bali from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.