Tiger must deliver: tourism boss

THE incoming head of Sunshine Coast Destination is calling on Tiger Airways to “remedy their service issues” following growing condemnation from passengers affected by 14 flight cancellations from the Coast in the past month.

The budget airline cancelled another two incoming and outgoing flights to Sydney and Melbourne from the Sunshine Coast yesterday due to “operational reasons”, prompting irate customers to demand an overhaul to operational policies to avoid tarnishing the Coast as a travel destination.

Incoming SCD president Steve Cooper said Tiger’s performance had been less than satisfactory.

“It is common knowledge that bad news spreads fast and for everyone’s sake, in particular Tiger in this instance, I look forward to them remedying their service issues and getting a better business model into practice as soon as possible,” he said.

“In these days of a challenging tourism economy the provision of a reliable, safe service is paramount and sadly with regard to Tiger, it has been a less than desirable performance.

“There’s fallout both sides of the arrival and destination coin as forward bookings that are held in good faith sometimes may not be honoured, which has a knock-on effect into an already challenged accommodation sector. This does have an impact on livelihoods and jobs.”

Mr Cooper said Tiger’s advised schedule cancellation of the Sunshine Coast to Sydney route would see our region lose 130,000 seats per year, a huge blow to the local economy.

“On the bright side we understand that Tiger Airways, as a result of their review of routes and service schedules, are looking to develop a stronger operating pattern which may see that route reinstated,” he said.

A Tiger Airways spokeswoman said the airline worked hard to keep cancellations to a minimum.

“Cancellations occur with all airlines from time to time. Reasons for cancellations of flights are broad ranging including weather and aircraft maintenance as two examples,” she said.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Airline On Time Performance Statistics for April showed Tiger was the worst of the seven major carriers, including Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Blue, for cancellations.

Of the 1978 Tiger flights scheduled throughout April, 109 were cancelled.

This made Tiger by far the worst performer with a 5.5% cancellation rate compared to the overall major carrier average of just 1.2%.

The spokeswoman confirmed Tiger was concentrating on improving punctuality “in response to customer feedback”.

Mr Cooper said the adage “buyer beware” applied and encouraged passengers to read the airline cancellation policies, which were highlighted in fine print.

HOW TIGER IS PERFORMING

Tiger Airways’ performance figures in April

On time departures – 60.7%

On time arrivals – 60.6%

Highest percentage of cancellations of major airlines – 5.5%

Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport


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