VIRGIN will cut three of its daily Sydney-Gold Coast return flights, with two of them effectively replaced by budget subsidiary Tigerair Australia, in a sign the budget carrier is playing an increasingly important role in its network strategy.
Rival Qantas Airways had completely abandoned the Sydney-Gold Coast route to low-cost arm Jetstar in July 2008, but it raised the ire of corporate customers and led to some switching to Virgin and so in 2012, it reinstated three daily services.
Following the changes, Virgin will have nine daily flights on the route – many of them timed for peak corporate hours – while Tigerair’s services will increase to four from the current two and focused on leisure travel timings.
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“It starts to build up a good presence and a solid market offering for us up there [on the Gold Coast],” Tigerair chief executive Rob Sharp said. “These network reviews are a very important part of positioning the business going forward.”