Tigerair: These are all the routes being dropped
Coffs Harbour services have been entirely chopped, where else is hit?
Bad news for bargain fare hunters: Tigerair Australia is dropping a number of destinations and flights in a bid to return to profitability.
From 27 April 2020, the following routes will disappear:
- Melbourne-Coffs Harbour
- Sydney-Coffs Harbour
- Hobart-Gold Coast (this one goes from 28 April 2020)
The change means Tigerair is withdrawing entirely from Coffs Harbour. The New South Wales coastal city continues to be served by Qantaslink and Virgin, though Virgin has cut back capacity on the route in recent times. Tigerair itself has been steadily trimming its flights to Coffs Harbour over the last year.
Customers with existing bookings on Tigerair services after the withdrawal date will be contacted and moved onto other services. That could mean shifting onto an equivalent Virgin direct service, or might be through a combination of Virgin and Tigerair flights. Emails being sent to customers note: "In the next 14 days you will receive a new flight confirmation email from Virgin Australia." (Note that until you know how flights have changed, you won't be able to make any travel insurance claims, and that if you're offered a near-equivalent flight, it's likely any travel insurance won't cover other associated costs.)
As the Coffs case suggests, the news isn't really surprising. Tigerair's owner Virgin flagged last year that it would be leaving unprofitable routes following a $315 million loss, and has already ditched its own Hong Kong services. Even before that, it was evident that Tigerair wasn't going to be able to turn a profit while selling sub-$20 flights.
I travel Tigerair quite frequently. Even though I'm a points junkie and keen to earn with Qantas and Virgin when possible, I'll always take advantage of a solid sale fare. I have family in Coffs Harbour (indeed I'm writing this from there after watching the historic Elton John concert), so seeing that route dropped is a definite downer.
It's too early to tell if Tigerair Australia will be sustainable as a business. With parent airline Virgin also suffering profitability woes, there's no clear way to expand it. And raising fares isn't likely to help, since the key attraction of a low-cost carrier is always, duh, low costs.
Virgin argues that simplifying the Tigerair fleet so it's only using Boeing 737s will reduce maintenance costs. For the sake of cheap travellers, let's hope so.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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