Low-cost airline plans expansion to Sydney

LOWER air-traffic levels at Sydney airport has given Tiger Airways a chance to operate flights between Melbourne and Sydney, the airline announced last night.

From July 3 the foreign-owned Tiger Airways will fly four times daily along Australia's busiest flight path.

Tiger previously negotiated to use the Sydney Airport terminal, but there was insufficient capacity and the business conditions did not fit with Tiger's low-cost model.

Now, space has opened up as other airlines reduce their flights. "The runways (at Sydney) are less congested now because there is less traffic," Tiger managing director Shelley Roberts said last night.

"We are able to get facilities and there is capacity."

Before it was allowed to use Sydney Airport, Tiger was running flights to nearby Newcastle, but pulled out of that route early last year due to low demand.

"We have seen an overwhelming customer demand for the (Melbourne-Sydney) route and we have managed to find a way to do it that is consistent with our business model," Ms Roberts said.

Tiger opened an office in Adelaide in early March and recently added flights to Perth, Gold Coast and Hobart to its schedules.

A spokesman for Sydney airport said it would release a statement about the arrangement today. Tiger's plans are subject to regulatory approval.