Singapore Airlines' (SIA) new long-haul low-cost carrier Scoot will launch services by the first half of 2012.

The carrier will start operations with four Boeing 777-200s and grow to a fleet of 14 aircraft by 2016, said CEO Campbell Wilson.

He added that the aircraft will be purchased from SIA and that the airline will fly to at least four destinations initially, including cities in Australia and China.

Scoot will also be purchasing 777-200ERs, which have a longer range, and therefore be able to offer services to destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said Wilson.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   © Scoot

The purchased aircraft will go through heavy maintenance checks, with the interiors refurbished and retrofitted for Scoot, Wilson told reporters.

The aircraft will have a two-class cabin with 32 to 40 premium seats and about 370 economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.

Scoot will operate out of Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 2 as the Budget Terminal is unable to accommodate widebodies, added Wilson.

The low-cost carrier, which will be managed separately from SIA, expects to receive its Air Operator's Certificate by the first quarter of 2012.

"We are not a substitution of SIA, the mission is to bring incremental numbers to grow the SIA group. Whether it is new routes or targeting new markets on existing routes, we are incrementing," said Wilson.

He added that Scoot will also be able to leverage on SIA's expertise and experience in fuel hedging and currency hedging, but that the airline has the mandate to make independent decisions when necessary.

Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia X, in which Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia has a 16% stake, pioneered the long-haul low-cost model in Southeast Asia in 2007 and its network now includes London, Paris, Tehran, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Christchurch, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chengdu, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo and Perth.

Scoot will differentiate itself from its competitors with its "short, sharp, catchy" name and attitude, said Wilson.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news