Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s leading airline brands, seeks to dominate Asia’s burgeoning no-frills air travel market. The airline is hoping to make budget travellers “Scoot” for its new long-haul budget carrier.

Singapore Airlines has launched its low cost subsidiary, Scoot. The budget carrier seeks to take on long haul routes as revealed by the new airline’s CEO Campbell Wilson to the media sources on Tuesday.

Wilson informed that Scoot is scheduled to commence operations by June 2012 and by the end of that year the budget carrier plans to fly four Boeing 777-200 jets.

The airline’s initial cheap flights will be routed to destinations as far as five to ten hour flight from Singapore’s Changi International Airport, the airline’s hub. The count of the destinations served may be four or more in China and Australia.

Online sources quoted Wilson as saying, “This new market segment is growing fast. We aim to bring new business to the SIA group.”

In the recent times, Singapore Airlines has faced stiff competition from Gulf carriers like Emiratesand Etihad, and Asian carriers like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, and Australia’s Qantas. This has forced Singapore’s flag carrier to diversify in the ever growing low cost air travel market.

Air Asia X, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s AirAsia, and JetStar, owned by Qantas are the two major long-haul low-cost carriers that Scoot is likely to face stiff competition from in the region. If experts’ opinion is anything to go by, the airline seems to have already planned to outshine the competition by seeking to dole out relatively more frills than these no-frill rivals.

Scoot eventually plans to route cheap flights to farther destinations in Europe and Africa by acquiring several Boeing 777-200ER planes which will allow the airline to penetrate destinations as much as 13 hours away. Online media sources reveal that the airline plans to employ 52 pilots, 250 flight attendants and 40 ground staff sometime next year, with what Campbell Wilson referred to as ‘Scootitude’.

Singapore Airlines has invested around 283 million SGD to start its wholly owned subsidiary, Scoot. In addition to its venerated flagship brand, Singapore Airlines operates SilkAir, a mid-cost regional carrier serving popular Asian destinations.

Singapore Airlines Limited also owns a 33 per cent stake in Tiger Airways, a low cost airline offering cheap tickets.

Budgeted Luxuries with Scoot

Relevant sources cited Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst with Standard and Poor’s, as saying, “This new airline is a poor man’s excuse to fly SIA.”

“It will be like luxury budget. When you’re flying 12 to 13 hours, you need to throw in some of the facilities people are used to on intercontinental flights,” he continued.

Scoot’s CEO Campbell Wilson informed reporters that Scoot will offer two cabin classes, with economy tickets up to 40 percent cheaper than those of full-service carriers. Moreover, Customers will be able to choose seats, meals and baggage options.

“We’ll offer many other options so people can customize their experience,” Mr Wilson said.

Business Aspect

Scoot is hoping to get a slice of the low-cost travel market. Budget flights made about 25 percent of Changi Airport’s traffic this year. Short-haul budget carriers like Indonesia’s Lion Air, AirAsia and Philippines Cebu Air have been the best earners among Asian airlines this year.

Shukor Yusof of S&P affirmed, “Budget airlines are not a fad. They’re here to stay. The market certainly has shifted from legacy carriers to discount carriers.”

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