Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) says it suspended the operations of low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia, with immediate effect from Saturday, 2 July 2011.
“This action has been taken because CASA believes permitting the airline to continue to fly poses a serious and imminent risk to air safety,” the agency says. “The suspension of Tiger Airways Australia follows the issue of a show-cause notice to the airline in March 2011.”
CASA says it took Tiger Airways Australia’s response to the notice into account when it subsequently imposed a number of conditions on the airline’s air operator’s certificate (AOC). The conditions required the airline to take action to: improve the proficiency of its pilots; improve pilot training and checking processes; change its fatigue-management policies; improve maintenance control and ongoing airworthiness systems; and ensure appropriately qualified people fill management and operational positions.
“CASA has been closely monitoring the operations of Tiger Airways Australia throughout 2011, with surveillance undertaken at a range of locations,” the agency says. “Since Tiger Airways Australia was served the show cause notice, there have been further events raising concerns about the airline’s ability to continue to conduct operations safely. In the circumstances, CASA no longer has confidence in the ability of Tiger Airways Australia to satisfactorily address the safety issues that have been identified.”
The suspension has been enforced for an initial five working days, during which CASA will apply to the Federal Court for an extension of the grounding. If the court supports CASA’s application, it can continue the suspension for as long as it takes to allow CASA to finalise its safety investigations.
Tiger Airways says it is “making strong progress in reaching its passengers whose travel plans have been affected as a result of the industry regulator’s decision”. The carrier has been advising all passengers with reservations affected by the ban, offering them a full refund or credit for deferred travel, and has temporarily suspended ticket sales covering the five-day initial duration of the suspension.
“We would like to offer our sincere apologies to all our passengers for the inconvenience caused and reassure the Australian public that safety has and will underpin our operations at all times,” the airline says. “Tiger Airways continues to co-operate fully with the industry regulator and the week ahead will be a busy one as we continue to work with CASA to reassure them, resolve the concerns they have raised and aim to resume our services as quickly as possible.”