Singaporean low-cost carrier Scoots into Busy Hong Kong Market

Singaporean low-cost, medium- and long-haul carrier, Scoot, is to introduce flights to Hong Kong later this year, the 12th destination in its expanding Asian network.  The airline, a sister venture to Singapore Airlines (SIA), will introduce a five times weekly link between Singapore Changi and Hong Kong International from November 15, 2013, increasing to a daily schedule from the following month.

Interestingly, the new route will see Scoot operate alongside two other SIA business with its flight operating alongside those of the mainline business and short-haul budget carrier Tigerair.  Scoot will also compete with Cathay Pacific Airways, Jetstar Asia and United Airlines, the latter offering the regional connection as a continuation of its flights from the US. 

It is unclear if SIA will adjust its own capacity ahead of the arrival of Scoot – both business are managed by completely separate management teams as independent ventures – but schedule data shows there are already between 19 and 26 weekly rotations in each direction (based on 2013 schedules) between the destinations offering between 3,420 and 4,680 seats.

Scoot launched operations in June 2012 between Singapore and the Australian destinations of Gold Coast and Sydney and has progressively expanded its network across Asia.  It now serves ten points from Singapore, adding flights to Bangkok (July 2012), Tianjin (August 2012), Taipei (Sydney 2012), Tokyo Narita (October 2012), Shenyang and Qingdao (November 2012), Seoul and Nanjing (June 2013).

All these flights are currently operated using the five Boeing 777-200s that Scoot initially acquired from SIA ahead of its launch.  Next year these will be replaced with modern generation Boeing 787 Dreamliners as Scoot begins to receive the first of 20 aircraft it has on order, opening up a range of new network opportunities for the carrier facilitating its ongoing expansion.

The addition of a smaller, more efficient airliner to its fleet will enable the carrier to serve a number of markets that are not currently possible with the larger aircraft type, while also increasing frequencies on existing routes to meet growing demand.  The range of the 787 will also enable Scoot to look at expanding into new geographical areas, including the Middle East and even parts of Europe.

In 2012 an estimated 2.64 million bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Singapore and Hong Kong, up 0.5 per cent on the previous year.  As the data below shows, Cathay Pacific has the largest share of this market with a 42.0 per cent share, up from 38.2 per cent last year.  SIA has a 33.0 per cent share, up from 30.8 per cent last year, but when you also include the activities of Tigerair the coverage of the traffic increases to 44.0 per cent.  It is interesting to note that this small rise in demand between 2011 and 2012 has occurred while average one-way fares have slipped from $440 to $365.

SCHEDULED AIR DEMAND BETWEEN HONG KONG AND SINGAPORE (bi-directional O&D passengers)

Rank

Airline

Estimated Passengers

% Change (2011)

% Share

1

Cathay Pacific (CX)

1,107,781

10.0 %

41.8 %

2

Singapore Airlines (SQ)

862,966

6.4 %

32.6 %

3

Jetstar Asia Airways (3K)

286,580

13.9 %

10.8 %

4

Tigerair (TR)

284,574

(-3.6) %

10.7 %

5

United Airlines (UA)

47,151

(-48.0) %

1.8 %

6

Hainan Airlines (HX)

43,628

(-72.9) %

1.6 %

(Others

14,802

(-21.2) %

0.6 %

TOTAL

2,647,482

0.5 %

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