Scoot upgrades Melbourne to daily, improves connection times from India and Europe

Scoot is planning to upgrade Melbourne to a year-round daily service in Jun-2018 and introduce a new split schedule to improve connections from India and Europe.


Highlights

  • Scoot is upgrading Melbourne-Singapore to a daily service at the beginning of Jun-2018;
  • Scoot at the same time is introducing a split schedule to improve connections from India and Europe to Melbourne;
  • Scoot’s increased presence in Melbourne comes less than three months after a cut in capacity on the Melbourne-Sydney route from LCC rival Jetstar.

Scoot launched services to Melbourne in Nov-2015 with five weekly flights and briefly offered seven weekly flights from mid Dec-2015 to early Jan-2015. However, Scoot has since operated a Singapore-Melbourne schedule of five weekly flights for most of the year, occasionally operating four flights during off peak periods and six flights during peak periods.

Scoot is introducing a new daily schedule to Melbourne at the beginning of Jun-2018, marking the first time since Jan-2016 that the service has been operated with seven weekly flights. Scoot CEO Lee Lik Hsin told Blue Swan on 28-Mar-2018 that Scoot plans to maintain the new daily schedule year-round. The new schedule includes four weekly departures from Melbourne in the early afternoon and three weekly departures in the evening; from Singapore, the schedule consists of four weekly departures after midnight and three weekly departures in the late morning.

The new schedule for Melbourne is similar to the schedule Scoot introduced in the Sydney market one year ago. Sydney was Scoot’s very first destination and was launched in Jun-2012 as a daily service landing in Sydney in the late morning and departing in the early afternoon. A split schedule was introduced in 2Q2017 by moving three of the seven frequencies to an evening arrival and departure in order to improve connections from several destinations in India and Athens.

Previously Scoot was only able to offer decent connections from Sydney to India. The new schedule also resulted in significantly better connections from Athens, which Scoot launched in Jun-2016 as its first European destination.

See related report: Scoot’s new Sydney schedule improves India-Sydney connections

Scoot now has the same issue in the Melbourne market and only has decent connections to most of its Indian destinations and Athens in the northbound direction. Scoot has seven destinations markets in India.

India and Athens are important markets from Melbourne, along with Berlin which Scoot is launching in Jun-2018. By offering connections in both directions, Scoot should be able to attract significantly more Melbourne-India and Melbourne-Europe traffic, which in turn should help support the additional Melbourne-Singapore capacity.

Scoot should also be able to improve its market share in the local Melbourne-Singapore market due to the recent cuts by Jetstar Airways. Jetstar in late Mar-2018 downgraded its Melbourne-Singapore service from four weekly flights to two weekly flights. This followed a cutback in 2017 from a schedule of five to seven weekly flights (depending on the time of year) to four weekly flights.

The latest cut at Jetstar coincided with an increase by Qantas on the Melbourne-Singapore route from 10 to 14 weekly flights. However, most of the additional Melbourne-Singapore passengers carried by Qantas are heading to London on Qantas’ recently resumed Singapore-London service.

Scoot focuses mainly on price sensitive leisure passengers, a segment which Jetstar caters to rather than Qantas. Emirates, which operates one daily flight on the Melbourne-Singapore route, also tends to compete in this segment, although a large share of its Melbourne-Singapore passengers continue to Dubai. Scoot’s parent Singapore Airlines is the market leader with four to five daily flights on Melbourne-Singapore (depending on the day of the week and time of the year) but generally leaves Scoot to focus on the price sensitive leisure segment.

Scoot already has a daily service to Perth, which was launched in late 2013. However, the Perth schedule works differently because Singapore-Perth is a much shorter flight than Singapore to east coast Australia and Perth is in the same time zone as Singapore. Scoot does not offer quick connections in the Perth-India or Perth-Europe markets but this is not a big priority.

Connections to India and Europe are more crucial for Scoot’s long-term viability in the Melbourne market. Athens is particularly important as Athens has Australia’s largest Greek community.

Scoot has been heavily promoting connections from Melbourne and Sydney to Berlin since early January with return fares starting at only AUD800 including taxes. With the new Melbourne schedule improving connections from Berlin to Melbourne, Scoot is now making another push at promoting Australia-Berlin itineraries with attractive one-stop fares.

See related report: Scoot attempts to woo Australians with low fares one-stop fares to Berlin