By Charlotte Seet
Scoot Expands Europe Network to London, Singapore Airlines Group on Path to Recovery
Just over a month ago when the news of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes was announced, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, Scoot, had increased and resumed quite a fair bit of flight services, with news of its approval to operate VTL flights to South Korea still pending.
It would seem that the wait is over as Scoot will begin operating one-time-weekly non-stop flight services between Singapore and Seoul, South Korea, allowing for passengers to enjoy quarantine-free travel during this holiday season. Scheduled to commence in just a matter of days on November 15, TR840 will depart for Seoul and the returning flight of TR841 will depart for Singapore. The route will utilize the low-cost carrier’s flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will operate only on Mondays.
Scoot is about to progress even further as the low-cost carrier further expands its European network, by announcing a new flight service between Singapore and London’s Gatwick Airport via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Currently, Scoot operates daily flights between Singapore and Bangkok, which means the new service will also complement the existing non-stop services operated between Singapore and London’s Heathrow Airport by Scoot’s bigger sister, Singapore Airlines. Besides being the only low-cost carrier to operate non-stop flights between Bangkok and London, the new service will also mark Scoot’s first-ever entry into the United Kingdom because as of currently, its European network consists of only Germany and Greece.
Flights will commence from December 16 using the Dreamliner and will be followed by a three-times-weekly seasonal scheduled service from March 2022, with a possibility that the frequency could be increased based on demand and regulatory approval. Expressing utmost delight to the new route addition, Mr. Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Scoot, said: “The progressive relaxation of international borders presents new opportunities for airlines and travelers alike. With the ability to now travel quarantine-free between the United Kingdom and Thailand, Scoot is excited to introduce the only low-cost option between Bangkok and London offering our unique combination of great value and great experience with a touch of Scootitude.”
He also added that Scoot was very “excited to now introduce the World’s Best Long-Haul Low-Cost Airline to London.”
With the addition of London, the low-cost carrier will serve over 30 destinations in December 2021 as it progressively builds back to its pre-COVID coverage of 68 cities.
With Singapore Airlines and Scoot taking to the skies more frequently, the Singapore Airlines Group was able to post a remarkable improvement in its latest half-yearly results, indicating improved market conditions. Although the Group still posted a S$427.6 million net loss, it can still be considered a rather positive climb rate from the S$2.34 billion net loss posted the year before.
This was mainly due to an increase in cargo revenue being up to 51 percent when compared to last year’s levels, allowing for the Group to review that monthly operating cashflows were near breakeven levels and that passenger capacity is expected to reach 43 percent of pre-Covid levels by December, serving half of its previous destinations. It would certainly be a strikingly positive contrast when compared to September, whereby passenger capacity had only reached around 32 percent of pre-Covid levels, which on average filled only about 20 percent of the aircraft seats.
And now with the VTL flights gaining more traction for the Group, the likelihood of actual passenger capacity surpassing the expected 43 percent is quite high, especially with the recent addition of Malaysia to the VTL list that is set to start from November 29. Prior to the pandemic, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route was considered as one of the world’s busiest international routes, and the suspension of travel between Singapore and Malaysia has definitely caused a massive pent-up in anticipation for many Malaysians working in Singapore, as many are eager to return home to reunite with their families.
Whilst the Group is still seeing red, but it is most likely flying out of this prolonged drought and is headed for a definite recovery.