A couple of weeks ago we reported on the surprising and disappointing news that SIA’s low-cost carrier Scoot appeared to be cutting routes and frequencies during November and December 2020, winding up the year with only 12 passenger routes and 20% fewer flights month-on-month in its routine schedule update.
As we mentioned at the time, Scoot does sometimes make shorter-term intermediate schedule updates and route additions, meaning there was a chance for the ultimate impact to be less severe than it first appeared.
Well the good news is that the airline has in fact worked with parent company Singapore Airlines in a “route shuffle” of sorts, and has now addressed the initial schedule drop adding flights and destinations, while also extending its passenger schedule to 31st January 2021.
The adjustment of services between SIA, SilkAir and Scoot are the result of a detailed review to determine which airlines in the SIA Group portfolio are best suited to meet evolving customer and cargo demand.Singapore Airlines, 18 November 2020
Better still, this is a significant shift from Scoot’s initial announcement, resulting in the busiest month for the carrier since schedules were cut due to COVID-19 earlier this year.
By the end of January 2021, Scoot will serve 14 routes, only two more than initially revealed for December, however flight frequencies are set to ramp up significantly including daily flights to and from cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Melbourne.
This increased schedule will lift total passenger flight volumes from the 136 originally announced to an impressive 462 in December 2020 and further to 536 in January 2021.
With 165 services in November 2020, that’s a 180% increase in December alone, nearly tripling the airline’s current operations.
By January 2021, passenger capacity by flight volumes will have reached 9.5% of original levels. Here’s how the route map looks for December 2020 and January 2021:
Weekly flights by route are as follows, with both terminating and new (or increased frequency) routes highlighted.
|New / Increasing|
(Nov 2020 – Jan 2021)
(fm 7 Dec)
(till 9 Nov)
|Ho Chi Minh||—||7/wk
(fm 7 Dec)
(fm 22 Nov)
|Kaohsiung / Osaka||1/wk
(till 7 Nov)
(till 16 Nov)
(till 3 Dec)
(fm 8 Dec)
(fm 7 Dec)
(till 4 Dec)
(fm 7 Dec)
|Taipei / Seoul||1/wk||3/wk
(fm 16 Dec)
|Taipei / Tokyo||1/wk||4/wk
(fm 14 Dec)
Note that Scoot’s flights from Singapore to Bangkok and Singapore to Ho Chi Minh are not currently able to carry passengers due to government restrictions, but will do so on their return flights to Singapore.
The full Scoot passenger flight schedule for November 2020 to January 2021, which is subject to occasional updates, is available here.
Now it makes sense
With Singapore Airlines reporting earlier today that it would cease flights to Surabaya and Taipei in December 2020, while also halving its Melbourne services, these route announcements from Scoot make sense, filling in the gaps on those routes.
The mainline carrier will also drastically increase frequencies on many routes, and start Airbus A350ULR services to San Francisco, plus new flights to Shenzhen and Nagoya in the coming weeks.
Hong Kong flights
An important thing to note about Scoot’s Hong Kong flights, which continue to be flown by the Boeing 787-9 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays but are now supplemented by Airbus A320neo services on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, is that they are not Air Travel Bubble (ATB) designated.
These flights will continue to serve those who do not qualify for the ATB, plus SIA Group’s transit passengers.
The ATB is currently being operated only on specified Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines flights, as we outline in this article.
Scoot may potentially participate in ATB flights if the scheme is successful and extended further into 2021.
The Boeing 787-8 is back
Scoot has 10 Boeing 787-8s in its fleet (in addition to the same number of 787-9s), however these have not been seen in revenue service since 22nd March 2020.
Three of these aircraft have been flown to Alice Springs in Australia for storage, leaving seven remaining in Singapore.
According to the latest schedule, the Boeing 787-8 is now making a return to the operating fleet, with operation on the Taipei / Seoul and Melbourne routes, from December 2020.
Earlier this month we also surmised that the carrier may be putting its Airbus A320neo fleet back into storage, with the sole route for that aircraft (Kuala Lumpur) ending, or as we now know transferring fully to Singapore Airlines.
No worries there, with the A320neo fleet kept busy four days per week to and from Hong Kong, on those non-ATB flights.
A group-wide network review turns out to be great news for SIA’s low-cost carrier Scoot, with the airline picking up a significantly expanded flight schedule in December 2020 and January 2021.
Scoot will completely take over SIA’s passenger flights to and from Taipei and Surabaya from early December, while adding daily services to Melbourne, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh and Penang.
Some of the frequencies we had seen disappear in the schedule update earlier this month have been picked up by Singapore Airlines, including Perth, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, in an exercise Singapore Airlines described as determining “which airlines in the SIA Group portfolio are best suited to meet evolving customer and cargo demand”.
For the first time since March 2020, Scoot is also planning to reintroduce its Boeing 787-8 aircraft to service, meaning all its aircraft variants should be flying next month.
(Cover Photo: Airbus)