Tiger’s Sydney flights purr

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Roaring: Members of the band 10cc pose with the Tigerair mascot at Water’s Edge on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photography

It wasn’t that long ago that people in the Whitsunday community were desperately clamouring for a Sydney flight.

On April 1, 2014, budget carrier Tigerair took the “leap of faith” and established three, weekly direct services between Sydney and the Whitsunday Coast.

Just one and-a-half years later those flights are full.

Tigerair’s head of communications Vanessa Regan said last week there was barely a spare seat.

Having partnered with the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and in fact flying in many of the bands, she said this was a testament to the demand for the event and the popularity of the Whitsundays.

“(And) as a volume business our services always evolve based on demand,” she said.

Ms Regan said comparing the April to September periods of 2014 and 2015, Tigerair had increased its number of visitor seats by over 23% and number of passengers on the route by 40%.

“We have increased services to the Whitsundays over recent times to cater for extra demand (and) looking ahead, if we compare the year ending March ’15 versus the year ending March ’16 we expect an increase of around 30% in visitor seats through the Whitsunday Coast airport,” she said.

On October 25, Tigerair added an additional permanent Sunday service, pushing the number of return flights to four per week.

Over the peak summer holiday period the airline will be adding an additional fifth weekly return service on the route, delivering nearly 2000 visitor seats per week.

Whitsunday Regional Council CEO Scott Waters, said there was “absolute scope for daily services from Sydney” now, “as well as growing Melbourne, which has been extremely succesful as well”.

Mr Waters said what he really wanted to do was ask the Whitsunday community “where do they want to fly next?”.

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