By James Wilkinson
Singapore-based low-cost airline Scoot is set to launch flights to Melbourne on November 1, 2015 in a significant boost to Victorian tourism.
The five-times-weekly service will be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will add 1875 seats per week into Melbourne.
Speaking exclusively to HM, Scoot Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Wilson, said there would be potential to add further capacity.
“We’ll start with five times per week and see how things go from there,” he said.
Wilson said the airline couldn’t start the Melbourne service until November 2015 due to the availability of new aircraft.
“We’re waiting for the delivery of new aircraft,” he said adding the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners were replacing the current fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft and not adding further jets to the fleet.
He revealed Melbourne was in the running as the launch destination for Scoot, one that ended up being Sydney.
“We think Melbourne is a natural market for us,” he said. “And we feel there’s a real gap in the market for this product.”
The addition of Melbourne will increase Scoot’s solid footprint in Australia, with the airline already operating services to Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
“We’ve had a fantastic start in Australia,” Wilson said. “And we are about to carry our 4 millionth guest [across the network] and that’s a big effort especially when you consider our average flight time is 6.5-hours.”
Once Melbourne is launched, the route map in Australia will be complete for the near-term, Wilson said.
“There won’t be any new destinations at this juncture,” he said. “The next step would be to increase frequency [on existing routes].”
Tourism Victoria’s Chief Executive, Leigh Harry, has hailed the new services as a positive development for the state’s $19.6 billion tourism industry.
“Having Scoot in Victoria means greater competition, which can only benefit consumers in the form of more choice and lower prices,” he said.
“Critically, it will enable more tourists from Singapore, the state’s sixth largest source market for international visitors, to access the multitude of tourism experiences that Melbourne and regional Victoria has to offer. And it will also provide more options for visitors from North Asia to come to our state.”