Scoot marks new chapter with arrival of Dreamliner

There will be a few firsts when Flight TZ787 touches down at Changi Airport at 9.45am today.

For budget carrier Scoot, the flight is operated with its first Boeing 787 jet, marking a new chapter in its three-year history and promising passengers a more comfortable ride and, maybe eventually, cheaper fares.

The Dreamliner will also be the first of Scoot's 20 B-787s that will be based at Changi Airport.

Scoot chief executive Campbell Wilson received the "keys" to the new Dreamliner from planemaker Boeing at its Everett factory, north of Seattle in the United States, last Saturday.

Gleaming in Scoot's trademark yellow, the plane, nicknamed Dream Start, then departed Seattle on its 18-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean to Singapore.

On board the plane were Mr Campbell and 38 others, including Scoot staff and journalists.

Boeing engineers were also on hand to iron out any technical kinks.

Today's arrival of the Dreamliner comes more than two years after Scoot first announced that it will take over the order of the B-787s from its parent company, Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The budget carrier expects to receive its second B-787 early next month and the third plane the following month.

As more B-787s start coming on board by August, the carrier expects to phase out six of its ageing, hand-me-down B-777 aircraft from SIA.

Mr Campbell said the B-787s are a "game changer" for Scoot, allowing the carrier to treble its fleet, add new destinations and increase flight frequencies - a growth plan which Scoot had put on hold last year while waiting for its new planes.

He said that besides flying to Melbourne in October, the carrier is expected to announce at least two new routes by June.

It will also cost Scoot less when it eventually operates an all-Dreamliner fleet of 787-8s and longer-range 787-9 variants by August.

This is because B-787s, primarily made of carbon-fibre composite material, are lighter and use a fifth less fuel than the current fleet of B-777s.

"It gives us the latitude to lower airfares without harming the business," said Mr Campbell, pointing out that airfares are determined by what rival airlines do.

The Scoot Dreamliner's maiden commercial flight is set to start on Thursday on the Singapore-Perth route.

This article was first published on Feb 2, 2015.
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