Singapore

Scoot adds 5 destinations, including Honolulu

Budget airline Scoot marked the completion of its merger with Tigerair yesterday with the announcement of five new destinations - Harbin, Kuantan, Kuching, Palembang and Honolulu - bringing the total number of destinations to 65.

Honolulu is Scoot's first stop in the US and its second long-haul destination outside of Asia, after Athens in Greece.

Honolulu represents a "big gap" for Scoot to fill, said its chief executive Lee Lik Hsin, but because of the distance, flying to other destinations in the continental US has to be "reviewed very carefully".

While Scoot aims to have about three or four long-haul destinations within the next two to three years, Mr Lee said it remains focused on Asia.

"Asia has to be the predominant region for Scoot," he said, adding that the airline aims to double its fleet of 37 planes within the next five years.

When asked if Scoot was concerned about long-haul flights offered by other budget carriers, Mr Lee said the aviation sector has "always been challenging" and competition was part of "daily business".

In May, European carrier Norwegian announced it would start offering flights between London and Singapore in September.

The 10,841km flight, which will take about 13 hours, is the longest budget flight to be operated.

Scoot's flights to Harbin in China, Honolulu, Kuching in Malaysia and Palembang in Indonesia will start by the end of this year, while flights to Kuantan in Malaysia are expected to begin by the first half of next year. Scoot will be taking over these routes from Silkair, another airline under the Singapore Airlines group. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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