Never say never: Tigerair Australia has confirmed in emphatic style a shift away from its hard-core no travel agents stance, signing a three-year agreement with retail giant Flight Centre, which in turn is now embracing a sector it once shunned.

Tigerair CEO Rob Sharp said while the Flight Centre partnership deviates “from the original true low cost model focused on self-service and direct online bookings”, it reflects changes at the airline, now wholly-owned by Virgin Australia.

Rob Sharp, Tigerair Australia

Rob Sharp, Tigerair Australia

“We are working with a number of travel agents where it makes commercial sense, which is particularly important for our new Bali services commencing early next year,” Mr Sharp said.

Under the three-year agreement, FLT will have  full access to Tigerairs’ fares and ancillary products (ie everything but the seat).

FLT Founder and MD, Graham Turner, said: “We see this partnership as win-win for both companies as we both seek to drive incremental demand for our products.”

The retailer now has similar agreements with Scoot, AirAsia, easyjet and JetBlue.

“In the end it is cheap distribution for them,” Mr Turner told The Australian.

“We have an overall strategy: we want to offer our customers everything available.

“Even if we don’t have an agreement we will book them, but the easier it is for us to book low-cost carriers and the more margin we can make on them, the more we will sell.”

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