Former Qantas head of airport infrastructure and services Rob Sharp has been appointed the first CEO of Tiger Airways Australia under the control of Virgin Australia.
His appointed was first reported a short while ago by the AFR. His recruitment pending ACCC approval last week of the acquisition by Virgin Australia of a 60% stake in the Tiger Australia franchise was negotiated earlier this year.
Sharp’s mission, which he has accepted, is to lead Tiger out of the jungle and devour as much of Jetstar’s low fare franchise in Australia as it can digest without going broke.
According to previous guidance from Virgin Australia’s CEO John Borghetti, who has been mining the talent at his former stamping ground at Qantas for some time, Tiger Australia is to avoid repeating the mistakes made by Jetstar after it began operations in 2004.
Tiger Australia will be a stand alone brand, not code sharing with nor appearing on Virgin Australia’s web site, aimed at participating profitably in the no frills low fare (and sometimes high fee) market.
Its loosely defined fleet ambition is to have as many as 35 A320s in service on its Australian network by sometime in 2018, which would be about half as many as are expected to be operated by Jetstar, although that is nothing more than a commonly accepted estimate.