Tigerair Australia plans to add a fourth Boeing 737-800 to its fleet to assist with crew training and for additional domestic flights over the busy summer holiday season.
The 737-800 from parent Virgin Australia is expected join the fleet in December, a Tigerair spokesperson told Australian Aviation via email.To be based in Melbourne, the aircraft will be rebranded into Tigerair livery and have its cabin reconfigured.
The arrival of a fourth 737 from parent Virgin is not part of Tigerair’s transition from A320s to 737s that was announced in July, where the 14 A320s will be progressively replaced with Boeing 737s over the next three years as Virgin and Tigerair move to a common fleet type.
Rather it represents additional capacity, with Tigerair’s fleet to increase to 18 aircraft – 14 A320s and four 737s – and is a further sign the airline is continuing to gain traction at the budget or leisure end of the market after delivering its maiden profit in 2015/16.
Currently, Tigerair’s three ex-Virgin 737-800s are used for the low-cost carrier’s flights to Bali from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth and configured with 180all-economy seats with five extra-legroom rows available for purchase as an optional extra.The aircraft are flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew and remain on Virgin Australia International’s air operator’s certificate (AOC).
Tigerair has applied to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for two changes to its AOC. The first is for the addition of the 737 onto its AOC as it transitions from Airbus to Boeing equipment, with pilot training for the 737 already underway. The second is to secure approval to operate international flights.