“Scoot” will it prove to be a game changer?

Finally the talk of the town has become a reality, Singapore Airlines unveiled its Long Haul Low Cost Carrier “Scoot”. Singapore Airlines plans to tackle the recent onslaught of Low Cost Carriers eating up its market pie with its new offering upto 40% cheaper fares than full service carriers.

Scoot plans to begin operations in mid-2012 with 4 Boeing 777-200 purchased from parent Singapore Airlines for operating to various destinations in the booming markets of Australia and China, It aims to have about 50 pilots and 250 cabin crew by the end of next year all of whom will be hired from outside and plans to operate 14 aircraft by the middle of this decade. The airline will operate from Changi Airport’s terminal 2, offering two cabins and will eventually expand operations to India, Europe, Africa and Middle East. The airline which has a capital of S$283 million ($224 million), will spend as much as S$60 million ($47.61 million) in the run-up to the start of its flights.

Singapore Air also owns regional carrier SilkAir and has agreed to increase its stake in short-haul budget carrier Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. to about 49 percent. So where does this new piece fits in? Well given that the airline plans to operate out of the Changi terminal 2 instead of the usual budget terminal for the Low Cost Carriers (LCC) and will be flying to long haul destinations in Australasia and China, it’s clear sign that the Singapore Airline plans to counter the growing LCC market with this offering which will then feed traffic into its full service network. In one way thats a good news that the passengers will be able to avail features like through check-in and baggage handling on the airline network and will surely be great pull for people who want to travel with a reputed brand but on a smaller budget.

But the bad news as per my understanding would be highly dense seating configurations on the planes, given that the current Singapore Airlines B777-200ERs accommodate 285 passengers, the expected config in the Scoot layout is likely to carry around 370 passengers with a 10 across (3-4-3) layout. While this kind of layout may suit well for short haul flights but for a long haul carrier, this could really turn into a deal breaker.

Scoot has setup a Facebook page and launched its website to allow people to register for updates and generate interest. What would be critical would be to see how the airline manages to live upto the reputation of its parent and what game changer strategy it employs to lure flyers.


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