Scoot Update – Engaging Customers In A ‘Quirky And Funny Way’ As One Of The Pioneers Of Low Cost Long Haul
Vinod Kannan, chief commercial officer, Scoot Tigerair, highlights how one of the pioneers of the Low Cost Long Haul model operates; how new aircraft are driving economic and operational benefits; the important feeder role Tigerair now plays; being part of a bigger airlines group and the positives and negatives it can bring; and the increasingly important role of technology.
Vinod KannanSo, like you said, we started in 2012. And by all definitions, Singapore to Sydney, which is our launch route, is to some extent low-cost long haul, as well.
We've been seeing good results on most of our routes. The discussion earlier on was quite interesting on what the future of long-haul low-cost is. But Scoot I think is an example that it does work, that it does make sense under a few parallels.
First, of course, The integration with Tiger, which we did last year, gives us that short haul feed and gives us the network that we can sell effectively.
Secondly, with our parent company, with Singapore Airlines. So we also serve an important purpose to work with the group as a portfolio to try and reach more destinations for the group and make more sense as a group for the Singapore Airlines group.
I would say on both those levels, we are doing pretty okay and we still plan to grow. And in the next five years, we've said publicly we want to double our fleet size. So we are still going ahead.
The response is phenomenal. So we started Athens about a year and a half ago. That was our first point in Europe. And then this June, we started Berlin. So, the response has been very positive. Load factors on the flights are in the high 80s or even 90%.
There's a lot of travel. We're just point-to-point, which you would expect. But there's also travel beyond. So some of the Southeast Asian and Australian destinations. So all in all, I think it's what we hoped for. And of course, the only way to go is further up.
The fuel advantages that the new generation or the new technology engines and aircraft offer us, basically translates into a better ... lower cost base and some cost savings passed on to the customer, as well.
I think it's been crucial for us, not just on the cost side but also on the product side. Many of the things that we offer on our products, on our flight, on the 787s are very well liked by our customers. The different kinds of products such as WiFi, in-flight charging, in-flight entertainment, they all have seen very positive responses. So I think we're quite happy that we have the 787 in our fleet.
The biggest challenge, of course, is the backend technical systems that we have, the PSS. We operate on different systems. And of course, the system that we have was never meant to be an interlining kind of system. So obviously there's some work required, which has now been put in.
Singapore Airlines now codeshares on us, on some of the unique points that we fly to. So the distribution system of Singapore Airlines helps us to bring in more passengers, as well. And I think the customers have ... the fact that the flights are doing well and load factors are high is proof enough that we're doing okay.
One of the important things that Scoot embraces is digital first, mobile first. So all these things that you expect from a nascent startup as well as a new low-cost carrier. We are investing in that, in a very heavy big way.
We've got a digital roadmap. One of the examples of this is that we recently launched a chat bot on our Facebook channel, which is a transactional one. So this was the first one in Southeast Asia, in fact in Asia Pac, where you can actually buy a ticket by chatting on our Facebook page.
Initiatives such as this, I think, challenge us to be at the forefront of technology. But more importantly, I think it's important to engage the customers and relate to them. And I think we do that in a quirky and funny way. And based on our latest surveys, I think more than about 77% of our customers say that we've exceeded or met their expectations. And I think that's very positive and we want to build on that.
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