Singapore-Europe market growth accelerates as LOT launches Singapore-Warsaw service

LOT Polish Airlines launched services to Singapore on 16-May-2018, driving further growth in the Singapore-Europe market.


Highlights

  • LOT Polish Airlines has launched services to Singapore, becoming the ninth European airline to serve the Singapore market;
  • Warsaw becomes the 18th destination in Europe with nonstop service from Singapore;
  • Singapore is LOT’s first destination in Southeast Asia and will be used to provide connections throughout the region;
  • LOT will pursue further growth in Asia as it adds another five 787s over the next 18 months for a total of 15 long haul aircraft.

LOT becomes the ninth European airline to serve Singapore. Warsaw becomes the 18th nonstop destination in Europe from Singapore and the fourth in Eastern Europe (after Athens, Istanbul and Moscow).

Growth in the Singapore-Europe market resumed in 2017 and is accelerating in 2018 due to the launch of several new routes. In addition to LOT’s new Singapore-Warsaw service, in late Mar-2018 Qantas resumed Singapore-London and Lufthansa resumed Singapore-Munich. Qantas initially suspended Singapore-London in early 2013 and Lufthansa suspended Singapore-Munich in late 2012.

Scoot is also launching services to Berlin in Jun-2018, which will extend the number of nonstop European destinations services from Singapore to 19.

Singapore-Europe nonstop passenger traffic increased by 9% in 2017, marking the first time the market has grown in five years. Singapore-Europe passenger traffic declined by 8% in 2013 and by 3% in 2014; Singapore-Europe traffic was flat in 2015 and 2016.

The growth in 2017 was driven by the launch of services to Athens by Scoot in Jun-2017 and to London Gatwick by Norwegian in Sep-2017. Finnair, Swiss and Turkish Airlines also added capacity to Singapore in 2017. Swiss upgauged from A340s to 777-300ERs, Turkish upgauged from A330s to 777-300ERs and Finnair introduced a year-round daily service – compared to a previous schedule of five weekly flights in winter and daily in summer.

In 1Q2018, Changi recorded a 12% increase in Singapore-Europe nonstop passenger traffic to 1.1 million. The rate of growth will likely accelerate further in 2Q2018 driven by the new services from Qantas, Lufthansa and LOT.

LOT is initially operating three weekly flights to Singapore using 252-seat 787-8s. LOT is adding a fourth frequency in Jul-2018.

Changi Airport has been trying to woo LOT for several years as part of an effort to improve its network to Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe has been a white space for Changi. While Athens, Istanbul, Moscow are technically considered Eastern Europe (based on CAPA and OAG data) they are not in the heart of Eastern Europe.

Local demand for Singapore-Warsaw is relatively limited but LOT expects to generate significant traffic beyond Warsaw to other regional destinations. LOT serves 40 destinations in Central and Eastern Europe.

LOT also hopes to use Changi as a hub to offer offline access to destinations throughout Southeast Asia. Singapore is LOT’s first destination in Southeast Asia since it suspended Hanoi in 2012.

Singapore becomes LOT’s ninth long haul destination. LOT’s long haul network also includes three destinations in Northeast Asia and five destinations in North America.

LOT recently took delivery of its first two 787-9s, which have freed up 787-8s for long haul expansion. In addition to the Warsaw-Singapore route, LOT launched earlier this month four times weekly Budapest-New York and twice weekly Budapest-Chicago service using 787-8s. These are LOT’s first fifth freedom long haul routes and represent the first time LOT has served North America from a market other than Poland in its 80 year history.

The 787 is LOT’s only widebody aircraft. The airline currently operates eight 787-8s and two 787-9s. It has another five 787-9s on order for delivery by the end of 2019, providing a platform for further long haul expansion. LOT plans to use the additional 787s to pursue further expansion in North America and Asia. Its Asia network now includes Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo along with Singapore.