Scoot takes off, more than 100,000 seats sold

Scoot's ticket sales have exceeded the 100,000 mark, one day before the no-frills carrier's inaugural flight to Sydney on June 4, 2012.

Singapore's first low-cost, long-haul airline currently flies to four destinations - Sydney, Gold Coast, Tianjin and Bangkok, and its average fare costs 40 per cent less than those of full-service airlines. Two more routes will be added by the end of this year.

The airline is eyeing destinations in China and India next.

Chief executive of Scoot Mr Campbell Wilson said: "Obviously China's a market of great interest because of its growth potential and number of people who are entering middle class and are looking to travel."

He added that India has potential but a few challenges with regard to market access.

When setting up the airline, time was a key challenge for Scoot, said Mr Wilson.

Given only 12 months to start the airline, many projects had to commence in the early phases: Seats took a long time to procure, aircraft design takes a lot time, as well as interior design and fittings.

Although increasing fuel costs pose a big challenge to Scoot, as it accounts more than 45 per cent of the total cost, Mr Wilson highlighted some ways on how Scoot manages to save cost.

Scoot has a small administrative staff, a lot of functons are outsourced to SIA engineering or SATS, and because not everyone orders a meal onboard, Mr Wilson said that galleys can be removed and replaced with seats instead.

He was also upbeat about Scoot's prospects: "If you look back in Singapore over the last eight years, the proprtion of budget travel, no frills travel, has gone from virtually nothing to 26 per cent.

"There is clearly a large segment of the market that is interested with budget travel (and) is comfortable with budget travel.

"Because we have larger aircraft that are able to go a further distance, we can now provide a budget travel option that can go eight to nine hours," said Mr Wilson.

When asked if its flying to Bangkok overlaps its sister carrier Tiger Airways, Mr Wilson said no.

He explained that the aircraft is usually sitting on the tarmac for about seven hours between flying to Australia and it "makes sense for us to operate it up to a regional destination so that the fixed costs are spread over more operating seats".

Mr Wilson said that Scoot chose Bangkok because it is large enough to support a 400-seat aircraft, it is not constrained by traffic rights and is very competitive.


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