Australian Airline Grounded

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For the first time, Australian authorities have grounded a major airline over safety concerns. On Saturday the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) pulled the operating certificates for Tiger Airways for a week after Tiger pilots busted low-altitude limits twice in one month. On June 7, a Tiger A320 was tagged on radar at 1,500 feet in an area where the minimum altitude is 2,500 feet and CASA pulled the pin after a Thursday incident when another Tiger A320 aborted a landing at Avalon Airport in Melbourne and was going around when it also busted the 2,500-foot minimum by about 500 feet. "We are concerned that Tiger does not have the commitment to safety that we expect from an Australian airline," said CASA spokesman Peter Gibson.

There was no notice so the suspension caused travel chaos just as Australian schools broke for their mid-term holiday. Qantas's Jetstar subsidiary is offering discounts to stranded Tiger passengers and Virgin is also helping out. Tiger can resume service next Saturday if it proves to CASA that it has a plan to mend its ways. Meanwhile, the international flights of the airline's parent company, Singapore based Tiger Airways, are operating normally.