Tiger Airways will have a new Australian CEO within about a month, and possibly a new name to go with it, even though there is no date set for a resumption of services in its domestic division.

The Federal Court adjourned today’s hearing concerning Tiger’s grounding on July 1 to August 1 to Wednesday August 3 on an application by the airline and with the consent of the air safety regulator, CASA.

In a statement Tiger says press reports that the airline will re-commence flights on Friday August 5 are speculation.

It says Tiger Airways Australia will make an announcement regarding the date flights will recommence and ticket sales have resumed at the appropriate time.

However much more is at stake than Tiger’s idle fleet of 10 A320s, which through labor and lease charges and parking fees and lost income are costing the carrier at least $1.6 million a week.

According to sources Tiger Airways Australia’s CEO, Tony Davis, will be replaced by a senior industry figure acceptable to CASA before the end of next month, and that Singapore Airlines, which now owns a reduced stake of 32.9 % of the Tiger Airways Holdings company that owns both of its Singapore and Australia divisions is determined to bring the operation into the viability that has eluded it since it began domestic services in this country in November 2007.

One source said he understood a re-naming of the operation was under serious consideration, possibly to give it the same identity as the yet unnamed 100% Singapore Airlines owned medium range Boeing 777-200 equipped low cost carrier it is launching between Australia and Asia next year.

Tony Davis was the president and CEO of the entire Tiger Holdings Group until he was sent to Australia last month to become the domestic divisions first dedicated CEO with instructions to devote his entire energy to fixing the mess it is in.

He was replaced at the top of the Tiger group by a senior Singapore Airlines executive Chin Yau Seng.

Tiger’s grounding as a threat to public safety followed months of apparent deafness in its Australian operations to concerns being raised by CASA and its apparent indifference to complying with the rules as required by its air operator certificate in a way which was acceptable to CASA, rather than through the remote administration of certain functions from Singapore.

In June Tiger flights made late night approaches to Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport respectively that descended below the safe minimum altitudes. The second such flight caused the airlines grounding, a CASA spokesperson describing it as ‘the last straw’.

When it was grounded Tiger held a 4.9 % share of the mainline domestic market in Australia.

This report first appeared in Crikey’s Daily Mail today

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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