Singapore Airlines’ low-cost subsidiary Scoot has revealed that it is discontinuing non-stop flights between Changi Airport and Gold Coast in Australia from mid-July 2023, having launched the route as its second ever destination 11 years ago, back in June 2012.
The Gold Coast is a popular tourist destination on the Queensland coast, famous for its beaches, theme parks and nightlife, and apart from a two-year hiatus during COVID-19, Scoot has been flying to and from the city between three and five times per week for more than a decade using its wide-body aircraft.
News of this route’s withdrawal unfortunately means there will no longer be any direct link between Singapore and the Gold Coast.
11 years of Scoot’s Gold Coast flights
Scoot commenced five times weekly Singapore – Gold Coast flights on 12th June 2012, with the city becoming the carrier’s second ever destination, launched just eight days after its inaugural Sydney services commenced.
Over the years the airline has operated between three and five weekly flights on the route, depending on the season, with Boeing 777s making way for the carrier’s new Boeing 787s from May 2015.
In January 2020, prior to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scoot was operating three weekly flights between Singapore and Gold Coast, using 375-seat Boeing 787-9s.
Scoot suspended Gold Coast flights between March 2020 and February 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has otherwise has served the city for nearly 11 years.
The carrier returned to Gold Coast on Valentine’s Day in 2022.
The ‘love affair’ wasn’t set to last though – with Scoot now confirming that its last departure from Singapore to Gold Coast will be on 16th July 2023, with the final service in the Gold Coast – Singapore direction operating the following morning.
In case you’re wondering, “suspended”, in aviation industry speak, means the full withdrawal of a service (a nice way of saying – “well we might restart it one day!“).
Scoot describes the move as an adjustment “to optimise resources and accommodate other operational considerations”, while Singapore Airlines, who announced the withdrawal of Scoot’s Gold Coast flights two days earlier, said it came as “the Group adjusts its capacity in response to demand”.
Scoot will continue to serve Melbourne 10 times per week, Sydney 10 times per week and Perth 12 times per week during the northern summer season.
The news comes as Singapore Airlines also announced this week it would be ceasing the only direct link between Changi Airport and another popular city – Vancouver.
Three times weekly non-stop flights on this city pair will cease on 30th September 2023, marking the second time the carrier has withdrawn from the Canadian market.
Gold Coast schedule
Scoot currently operates four times weekly between Singapore and Gold Coast, but this will reduce to three times weekly from 1st March 2023.
That schedule then continues through to Sunday 16th July 2023 (ex-Singapore) and Monday 17th July 2023 (ex-Gold Coast), as shown below.
1st March 2023 – 24th March 2023
* Next day
26th March 2023 – 17th July 2023
* Next day
Flights predominantly use Scoot’s Boeing 787-8 aircraft, fitted with either 329 seats (18 ScootPlus and 311 Economy) or 335 seats (21 ScootPlus and 314 Economy).
Lack of demand is not apparent
Scoot transported 123,911 passengers between Singapore and Gold Coast during its last full year of operation pre-COVID in 2019, filling 82.2% of its available seats, according to BITRE statistics.
Scoot’s Singapore – Gold Coast flights have been recording the following load factors since the route was relaunched in mid-February 2022.
Scoot Singapore – Gold Coast Route Performance
Feb 2022 – Oct 2022
The route struggled on its restart during Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, with only 1 in 10 seats filled, but soon picked up once the complex, unpopular process was happily ditched in favour of open borders for all vaccinated travellers, and by June over 70% load factors were being recorded.
Load factor peaked at 91.9% in September 2022, and was 86.8% in October 2022, the last month with published statistics.
This compared closely with pre-COVID load factors (in January 2020, Scoot had an 88.8% load factor on the route).
From December 2022, Scoot has been deploying its larger capacity 375-seat Boeing 787-9s on selected Gold Coast flights to take advantage of increased demand over the peak holiday season in both countries, though the above statistics do not reflect performance during this recent period.
While the most recent data isn’t available, if August to October 2022 is anything to go by then a lack of demand certainly hasn’t been plaguing the route – suggesting it is simply not profitable, or is less profitable than alternative deployments for the aircraft, especially with China now reopening.
Gold Coast “disappointed”
Gold Coast Airport has expressed its disappointment at the news of Scoot’s upcoming withdrawal from this key route in its small international network.
The City of Gold Coast’s mayor Tom Tate was also surprised at Scoot’s decision, according to news site myGC.
Alternatives to reach the Gold Coast
Getting to the Gold Coast from Singapore will certainly be less convenient once these Scoot flights end, but there are still a number of options for travellers to consider.
- Air Asia X will resume its Kuala Lumpur – Gold Coast flights using Airbus A330s on 31st March 2023, providing an alternative route for Singapore residents to reach the city three days per week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- From 29th March 2023 it will also be possible to fly directly to Gold Coast from Bali with Virgin Australia, with daily services allowing you to self-transit or have a two-centre (two-beach!) holiday. KrisFlyer redemptions are also available on these flights.
- Singapore Airlines and Qantas continue to serve Brisbane four times daily between them from Changi, and it’s possible to drive to Gold Coast from there in around an hour, or take a train or bus to the city.
- Various carriers, including Scoot, Jetstar, SIA, Emirates and Qantas serve other Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne non-stop from Singapore, and there are plentiful domestic connections to Gold Coast available from these airports on both low-cost and full-service carriers.
Scoot is increasing China flights
One part of the world not suffering from a retraction of Scoot flights is China, with the low-cost carrier recently announcing that it will be significantly expanding its services to and from the country over the coming months, as border relaxations kick in.
Key points include:
- Growth of Scoot’s existing Singapore – China operations (Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Tianjin and Zhengzhou) from 14 flights per week to 26 flights per week in March 2023.
- Further expansion to 42 flights per week in April 2023, including the return of Haikou, Ningbo and Xi’an to the network.
- Further expansion to 57 flights per week in May and June 2023, including the return of Nanning and Shenyang to the network.
These additional routes and frequencies will use both Airbus A320 family and Boeing 787 family aircraft.
Scoot launched Singapore – Gold Coast flights right back in its first month of operation, when the popular Aussie tourist hotspot became the carrier’s second ever route, the week after inaugural flights to Sydney were launched.
It’s therefore sad to see this one fall by the wayside, as the carrier adjusts its network – effectively to free up its aircraft for more profitable route opportunities, since demand clearly looks strong for this service.
Sadly this will leave the Singapore – Gold Coast route without any non-stop options from mid-July 2023, though Air Asia X will soon return to the market to and from Kuala Lumpur, providing a low-cost option for our readers prepared to make a transit in KL.
Otherwise travellers can fly from Singapore to Australia with the likes of SIA, Qantas, Scoot and Emirates, then connect onto a domestic flight to Gold Coast, or simply fly to Brisbane on SIA or Qantas and take the train, so not all is lost!
(Cover Photo: Gold Coast Airport)