SYDNEY, Dec 2 — Singapore Airlines’ new long-haul budget carrier Scoot said yesterday that its first route will be between Sydney and Singapore, throwing down the gauntlet to Qantas and Jetstar.
Scoot will begin flying from mid-2012 with a fleet of four Boeing B777-200s bought from parent company Singapore Airlines, and chief executive Campbell Wilson said a daily Sydney-Singapore flight will be their first service.
Singapore is a major Asian gateway for Qantas, which flies a number of its European routes through there.
Wilson rejected suggestions that Australia’s airline market, dominated by Qantas and its budget offshoot Jetstar, could not sustain another carrier.
“There’s absolutely a market here,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“We have seen in all of the markets that no-frills carriers have entered, whether it be short haul or long haul, that they’ve grown the market.”
“Sydney has a huge untapped potential for inbound and outbound no-frills travellers and we will deliver that.”
The carrier will offer fares about 40 per cent lower than the traditional airlines and will target the young, the adventurous, and those that wish to save money, he added.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell said Scoot’s decision would open up Sydney even further to the booming Asian tourism industry.
“This is a significant step towards our goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by 2020,” O’Farrell said.
Australia’s peak industry body, Tourism and Transport Forum, added that it was an exciting development.
“Asia will provide the vast majority of growth in international visitation over the coming decade, and this route will allow us to tap into that market,” said chief executive John Lee.
“Rising incomes in Asia are allowing more and more people to travel overseas and Australia is well placed to capitalise on this opportunity.”
While Scoot is a wholly-owned Singapore Airlines subsidiary, it is independently managed and will focus on the medium and long-haul budget segment.
It also plans to fly to China and have 14 planes by 2016, with longer-term destinations including India, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. — AFP/Relaxnews