Tigerair remake, there is more to come: Photo James Morgan

Tiger Airways, the group, has changed its branding and name to Tigerair from this morning, ahead of this month’s transfer of a controlling interest in its Australian operations to Virgin Australia.

In a statement before the official revealing of the new soft non-leaping Tiger the airline said:

The enhanced look and feel of the new brand will be progressively reflected across the business through every customer touch point and represents a new era for the low cost airline which aims to connect more Australians to more of Australia, whilst making sure their experience is one that keeps them coming back for more.

However it doesn’t  say how it will do this, but cheap fares and room for the legs of normal sized Australians would definitely trump its major shareholder Virgin Australia and its competitors Qantas and Jetstar. In our dreams.

Yet there is a hint of real action coming up in the media release:

“Rob Sharp, CEO of Tigerair Australia said “Today’s news is much more than just a fresh coat of paint and a new logo – it is the start of the revival of our airline here in Australia and should be seen as reinforcement of our commitment towards continuous innovation and improvement.  The strategic repositioning of the brand will assist us through a significant period of growth over the coming years.”

“Our goal is to provide Australians with the opportunity to explore new destinations, escape the daily grind, catch their favourite team in action and re-connect with friends and family more often, because our fares enable it. If you like, we’re a real airline for real people but we do understand that we need to put the customer at the forefront of our approach to ensure they choose to fly Tigerair.”

So, over to Tigerair, give us a seat we can fit in and a fare that is a real bargain. One in which we come out ahead when we buy a checked bag. There are some great deals being offered by Qantas and Virgin Australia which mean that being $50 cheaper for short flights, or $150 cheaper on transcontinental red-eyes just isn’t going to work.

Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp, and the new look: James Morgan

It’s a formidable challenge to differentiate a true value low fare offering by a branded budget carrier in Australia against an affordable fare in a more amenable, more frequent ‘full service’ carrier in Qantas or Virgin Australia.

But maybe Tigerair does have an answer, and maybe it will pull custom off both Virgin Australia and Qantas, yet that doesn’t seem like part of the low fare brand game plan of either of these carriers, each with their own budget brands.

As Qantas discovered to its cost on the Gold Coast routes, if you restrict a destination to the low cost format  as it did by abandoning those routes to Jetstar, you will annoy your loyal full fare travellers, and drive them away to the alternative carrier. (Qantas is now back on the Gold Coast routes, but not all that frequently compared to the services of its Jetstar brand.)

So many questions, but so few straightforward answers. So far.

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