Singapore Airlines’ low-cost offshoot Scoot sees the Boeing 787 as the key to opening up current and new markets including Australia, China, India and Japan.
Scoot expects to begin flying the first of 20 Boeing 787s by the end of 2014, and by 2016 will have enough Dreamliners in the fleet to retire the ageing Boeing 777-200s which it inherited from parent Singapore Airlines.
The airline will split its Dreamliner order between the original 787-8 and the larger and longer-range 787-9, with each version of the 787 geared to specific routes.
“They’re operationally interchangeable so there’s no efficiency impact, but the different capacities open more options with respect to network and deployment” Wilson told FlightGlobal, which tips the airline is likely to take 10 of each Dreamliner variant.
Scoot will join Jetstar as one of the low-cost carriers stumping up for the Boeing 787, based on its reduced running costs via lower fuel consumption and longer time between major maintenance checks.
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Scoot’s Dreamliners will carry fewer passengers than its Boeing 777s – the airline’s 777 configuration packs 402 seats, which the 787-8s are likely to sit around the 330 mark, based on Jetstar’s Boeing 787 configuration.
Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson believes this will gives Scoot the flexibility to launch new routes, or add more flights to existing routes, when the economics might not favour the Boeing 777.
“At some point, taking advantage of the latest technology is necessary” Wilson tells Singapore’s The Business Times, adding that much of Scoot’s growth will likely come from the airline’s “economic sweet spot” – destinations within five to nine hours travel from Scoot’s Singapore base
For that reason, a low-cost Scoot 787 service to London is unlikely, as the operating costs would rise due to the need to carry more fuel and a larger crew complement to work the split shifts, along with crew rest bunks – something which Jetstar deliberately left off its own 787 order.
According to The Business Times, flights to India remains on Scoot’s radar.
“Mr Wilson says that India offers several potential destinations beyond a five-hour radius, particularly in the north-west of the country” the newspaper reports.
Australian Business Traveller