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Based at Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines is the national carrier of Singapore. Using a fleet of wide-body Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the A380 of which Singapore Airlines was the launch customer, Singapore Airlines operates an extensive network across Asia, North America, Australasia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Singapore Airlines joined the Star Alliance on 01-Apr-2000.
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2,048 total articles
356 total articles
Scoot plans Kaohsiung-Osaka & Bangkok-Sapporo as long-haul LCCs focus on fifth freedom opportunities
Singapore Airlines long-haul low-cost subsidiary Scoot is planning to launch two fifth freedom routes as it expands capacity for the fist time in over 18 months. The new Singapore-Kaohsiung-Osaka and Singapore-Bangkok-Sapporo routes complement existing services from Taipei to Tokyo and Seoul and will lift Scoot’s share of capacity allocated to fifth freedom sectors to over 20%.
More fifth freedom flights for Scoot are likely, particularly from Bangkok due to the new restrictions blocking expansion to Japan and South Korea placed on its Thailand-based sister carrier NokScoot. Asia’s leading long-haul LCC, AirAsia X, is also planning to launch its first fifth freedom sector, Osaka-Honolulu, and is looking at other similar opportunities including from India to Europe.
Fifth freedom sectors are attractive as they often provide less competitive and higher yielding options than pursuing new routes from home markets. Allocating capacity to other markets is a good option for Scoot and AirAsia X as the Singapore and Malaysia markets have become relatively saturated.
It has been more than three months since Qatar Airways took delivery on 22-Dec-2014 of the world's first A350 XWB. Since then Qatar has taken delivery of only a second aircraft and has used it to increase Doha-Frankfurt service from one to two daily flights, perhaps for operational or commercial reasons although far catchier was Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker's explanation the double daily A350 would "rub salt in the wound" of Lufthansa.
A far greater commitment is in Singapore, where Qatar Airways will have three daily A350 flights to Singapore, a longer flight than Frankfurt. Singapore may be the first airport to see two A350 operators when Finnair commences A350 service there after other Asian points.
Vietnam Airlines will launch A350 service to Paris CDG while Cathay Pacific may make Auckland an early A350 destination. A350 configurations range from 280 to 305 seats. No airline has first class (yet) and business class seat counts range from 29 to 46, with business class comprising 10-15% of total seats.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is looking at acquiring a stake in Korean LCC Jeju Air as a potential next step in further expanding and diversifying its portfolio of airlines. Jeju would be SIA’s first investment in North Asia, following recent investments in Australia, India and Thailand.
SIA-Jeju is an unusual combination as there would initially at least be limited network synergies, although it would be a relatively inexpensive investment for SIA. Jeju Air is keen to stick with its pure point-to-point short-haul LCC model, resisting the need to establish deep partnerships, pursue transit traffic or launch a long-haul low-cost operation.
Jeju could potentially be persuaded by SIA to make changes and pursue partnerships or joint ventures with SIA’s two LCC subsidiaries, Tigerair and Scoot. But most likely SIA’s potential stake in Jeju will be primarily an investment – at least in the initial phase – with some opportunities for the airlines to learn from each other without having to rebrand or forge formal partnerships.
After Qantas' international division posted a profit for the six months to 31-Dec-2014, the division's first positive result since the Global Financial Crisis, the division needs to move from profit to sustainability and delivering returns. But Qantas is now considering international expansion after many years of reductions. A flight to Tokyo has been added, seasonal services to Vancouver have returned, there are supplementary long-haul services and Perth-Singapore may even be re-opened. Reports suggest a return to Sydney-San Francisco is even possible.
“We continue to operate below our full potential,” Qantas reported in a recent government submission. But as Qantas considers international growth, it confronts a markedly different international environment. Qantas argues that Australia viewed it as “expendable” and gave away international traffic rights without receiving enough in return. Qantas seeks to slow liberalisation under the justification of enforcing Australia’s legal duty to support a local aviation industry. This is effectively a mask for protectionism, begging the question: what is the value of a local aviation industry?
Air New Zealand remains one of the world's few investment-rated airlines (Baa3), and the only rated airline outside North America and Europe. Its latest results reinforced that position. Air NZ is building on that strength with a 20% increase in pre-tax profits in the first half of its fiscal year, the six months to 30-Dec-2014. That result was driven by increased revenue performance, notably a 1.9% yield gain and 1.2% increase in traffic.
Air NZ realised only a modest NZD20 million (USD15 million) gain from fuel as lower prices were offset by hedging losses. Air NZ expects a stronger gain of approximately NZD82 million (USD61 million) in the second half, but this too will be well short of what Air NZ could have realised without hedging losses.
Some of the fuel price gain will be used to stimulate demand as Air NZ grows at a much faster 12% rate in the second half. This includes its new Auckland-Singapore route, domestic growth twice the rate of New Zealand's GDP. Later in 2015 comes the start of a Buenos Aires service – and possibly a fourth - as yet undisclosed - North American destination.
Thailand’s NokScoot is aiming to launch scheduled services in May-2015 with an initial fleet of three 415-seat 777-200s. The long-haul low-cost joint venture between Thai Airways affiliate Nok Air and Singapore Airlines (SIA) subsidiary Scoot is planning to serve China, Korea, Japan and potentially Singapore in its initial phase.
NokScoot is eager to enter the fast-expanding but increasingly competitive Thailand-North Asia market. But the start-up is unlikely to pursue significant growth until it is able transition to new-generation aircraft. The 777s are an interim solution that is unlikely to be profitable but enables NokScoot to quickly establish a presence on several key routes.
NokScoot was initially planning to launch scheduled services in late 2014 starting with flights to Tokyo Narita. But it has encountered repeated delays, mainly on the Japanese end. NokScoot is now simultaneously seeking approvals from several authorities, giving it the flexibility to launch with one of several potential routes.