Singapore's new budget airline touches down in Sydney

Challenging rival budget airlines Jetstar and AirAsia, Singapore Airlines' new low-cost offshoot, Scoot, took to the skies for its maiden flight this morning, with 400 passengers touching down at Sydney Airport.

The incoming flight from Singapore arrived after a one-hour delay due to a medical emergency, with passengers waiting at the check-in gates surrounded by bright yellow balloons and flags, and traditional Singaporean dancers and musicians.

The low-cost airline will fly to Singapore daily from Sydney with sale fares starting from about $179 one-way. From next week, Scoot will add five flights a week from the Gold Coast to Singapore on its Boeing 777 aircraft fitted with premium and economy cabins.

In addition to Singapore, it will operate to a number of Asian cities starting with Bangkok, and Tianjin in China. Scoot also announced this morning its plan to fly to two more destinations in Asia, Tokyo and Taipei.

At the airport this morning, Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson said, “This is been a momentous day for us, and its been a long time coming – a year in the making and it's something that we're very, very excited about.”

Wilso said the rapid growth of the low-cost airline market in Asia was behind the launch of the new budget carrier.

"The low-cost market (has) gone from nothing to 26 per cent of Changi airport in less than a decade … so they wanted to tap into that market,” he said

The airline will start with two planes, will add a third in July and a fourth in September.

“By the middle of the decade we aim to have about 14 aircraft, which allows us to have at least 12 to 15 destinations,” said Wilson.

What does this airline mean for Singapore? Said Kenneth Lim, regional director of Singapore Tourism, "Because the business model is low-cost and long haul, it means more Australians can visit Singapore. It also means that people can spend less on the flight, and more at the destination.”

“Because it's a direct flight, it makes Singapore not so much a stopover anymore - whoever takes this flight wants to go and see only Singapore.”

The entry of Scoot marks a new shot in the ongoing airfare war for Australians travelling from Sydney to Asia. Rival low-cost Malaysian airline, AirAsia X, began flights between Sydney and Kuala Lumpur in April after years of being denied access to the route.

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