Scoot is not ready to invest in the Gold Coast despite capacity increase

Scoot is adding back capacity to the Gold Coast but is not yet ready to upgrade the service to daily or offer a consistent year-round schedule of five weekly flights.


Highlights:

  • Scoot has added back a fifth weekly flight on the Gold Coast-Singapore route during certain periods but is not intending to upgrade the service to daily;
  • Scoot also has no intention of introducing from Gold Coast a split schedule, which it has done in the Sydney and now Melbourne markets in order to improve connections from Europe and India;
  • Scoot launched services to the Gold Coast in 2012 but has since reduced capacity;
  • Scoot’s Gold Coast traffic has declined by more than 30% over the last four years.

Gold Coast Airport recently announced that Scoot from the beginning of Apr-2018 increased its Gold Coast-Singapore service from four to five weekly flights. The airport noted the increase was implemented in time for the Commonwealth Games, which is currently taking place in the Gold Coast.

Scoot launched Gold Coast-Singapore in Jun-2012, with five weekly flights. It was the second route for the long haul low cost start-up, and in its first 11 months on the route Scoot maintained at least the five weekly flights, briefly adding flights during Christmas and Easter. However, Scoot started cutting back its Gold Coast schedule in mid 2013 to as few as three weekly frequencies during off peak periods. Scoot also tagged Gold Coast and Sydney during off peak periods in 2014 and 2015, operating some middle of the week flights on a Singapore-Sydney-Gold Coast-Singapore circle routing.

For the last three years, Scoot has again operated all its Gold Coast flights nonstop in both directions. However, it has generally maintained a schedule of only three to four weekly flights. At one point, Scoot went 21 months – from Easter 2016 to Christmas 2017 – without operating a fifth frequency any week.

Scoot is currently back at five weekly flights to the Gold Coast but it is still not intending to maintain this amount year-round. Scoot is reducing Gold Coast back to three weekly flights for most of May-2018 before reintroducing a fifth weekly flight at the beginning of Jun-2018.

Scoot will have more capacity to the Gold Coast in June and July than it has had since 2015 but will again reduce capacity from mid Aug-2018. Scoot will serve the Gold Coast with only three to four weekly flights in the second half of August and all of September before reverting back to five weekly flights in October.

Scoot executives tell Blue Swan that the airline has no intention of upgrading Gold Coast-Singapore to daily or introducing a split schedule, which would improve connections to India and Europe. Scoot is upgrading Melbourne-Singapore to a year-round daily service at the beginning of Jun-2018 and at the same time introducing a split schedule, resulting in better connections from Europe and India. A year ago, Scoot introduced a similar split schedule on the daily Sydney-Singapore route.

See related report: Scoot upgrades Melbourne to daily, improves connection times from India and Europe

A split schedule is difficult to implement without at least six weekly frequencies. Gold Coast is a relatively seasonal market, making it difficult to maintain six or seven weekly frequencies year-round.

In the fiscal year ending Jun-2017 (FY2017), Scoot carried 114,000 passengers between the Gold Coast and Singapore, according to BITRE data. Scoot’s Gold Coast traffic in FY2017 was down by 15% compared to FY2016 and by 31% compared to FY2013, which was Scoot’s first full year of serving the Gold Coast. (Scoot only served Gold Coast for a few weeks in FY2012, carrying 8,000 passengers.)

In FY2013, Scoot carried 167,000 passengers to and from Gold Coast and accounted for 19% of total international traffic at Gold Coast. In FY2017, Scoot accounted for only 10% of total international traffic at Gold Coast.

The recent seasonal increase should enable Scoot to post slight increases in its Gold Coast traffic for FY2018 and FY2019. However, Scoot will still not approach the 167,000 passengers it carried to and from the Gold Coast in its first year of serving the Gold Coast market.