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Update | Scoot will launch on June 25 – click here for all the details.
Previous | Singapore Airlines’ new low-cost offshoot Scoot will make Sydney its debut destination, with daily flights between Singapore's Changi airport and Sydney International starting in June 2012.
But the start-up with the funny name has other countries in its sights, with Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson confirming to Australian Business Traveller that China and India are both on the shortlist for the airline’s mid-year launch.
Scoot is promising fares up to 40 percent lower than full-service ‘legacy’ carriers such as Qantas and its own parent Singapore Airlines, although it will use Changi Terminal 2 rather than the airport’s shed-like low cost terminal.
Wilson also cited Melbourne as a potential Australian destination, while other destinations it will target as the fleet expands from four aircraft to 14 by 2015 include New Zealand, Europe, North Asia and even the Gulf states turf of Emirates and Etihad.
But it’s a matter of “walk before you run” says the 15 year veteran of Singapore Airlines, tapped in July this year to helm the no-fills carrier.
This includes "building some fat" into the airline's schedule for the first 12 months to avoid the late-running and cancellation woes which have beset Scoot's SQ sibling Tiger Aiways Australia.
"Clearly we want to be punctual and reliable" Wilson says, "so we've built some fat into our first year's schedule to try and make sure we get off on the right foot. Eventually with a small fleet like we have, things will happen, there will be weather delays and things like that – but then it's about how you recover and how you treat people."
Scoot will use ex-SQ Boeing 777-200 planes which will be fitted with new business and economy cabins.
Want the first photos of Scoot's new business and economy seats, plus details on Scoot's plans for a frequent flyer programme, SQ KrisFlyer privileges and more? Click here!
Although these are actually Boeing’s extended range or ‘ER’ versions of the 777, Wilson says that the first aircraft will be operated as conventional aircraft with a more restricted range. (In fact, Singapore-Sydney will be the longest of Scoot’s first routes.)
“All of Singapore’s 777-200s have ER capability but they would need to be re-rated and if you’re doing especially long haul operations you need to put in more equipment and things like crew rest areas” Wilson explains.
While Wilson hopes to eventually run some of the Scoot 777s as full ER aircraft capable of reaching Europe, that’s not part of the launch strategy.
“Going to Europe consumes a lot of resources, it’s technically more challenging and you’re more exposed to fuel prices.”
“It’s better that we get up and running in the regional market, where we see real opportunity” he says, before adding with a smile that “it’s probably not the best time to be launching a new airline into Europe anyway!”