Future of Scoot is bright, says CEO
From flying to just 2 cities in April and May, it now goes to 15 cities
Even as the deferment of the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble has dented some of the optimism around mass air travel, there is light on the horizon for low-cost carrier Scoot, said its chief executive.
From running flights to just two cities - Hong Kong and Perth - in April and May, the airline now flies to 15 cities and hopes to add a couple more as its passenger capacity is set to double by early next year.
"I think we are through the worst of it," Mr Campbell Wilson told media yesterday at the launch of a new in-flight portal.
"There is an upward trajectory and we are seeing some signs of improvement."
The new portal is the latest in Scoot's efforts to digitalise and better meet customer expectations in a post-Covid world.
REDUCE SURFACE CONTACT
Switching from physical menus, magazines and catalogues to digital ones will reduce surface contact and physical interactions between customers and crew, Scoot said.
Vice-president of cabin services Andrew Goh said: "Covid-19 surfaced an urgent need for social distancing... Customers expect such options to be made available to them to provide peace of mind about their health and safety."
The portal will also allow the carrier to generate revenue from advertising and reduce its annual paper consumption by more than 156 tonnes, the equivalent of over 2,000 trees.
Mr Wilson said the rollout of the portal was accelerated by a few months due to Covid-19.
While he declined to reveal how much it cost, he told The New Paper that such investments will ultimately allow Scoot to emerge stronger.
"It makes us more lean and efficient. The secret of success for an airline is a low unit cost, which allows you to then offer low ticket prices. So the investments we've made into this actually allow us to be more price-competitive."
This is one of the advantages that Scoot is poised to seize once borders reopen, Mr Wilson said.
"Scoot principally caters to leisure travellers and I think leisure travel is likely to come back faster than corporate travel...
"The fact that we fly regionally keeps people in their comfort zones and we're mostly point to point so we only need Singapore and another country to open their borders and we can fill our flights," he added.
The Kiwi, who rejoined Scoot as chief executive in April just days before circuit breaker measures kicked in, said air travel in the near-term will be more digitally enabled, minimising contact and interactions between passengers and airline crew.
All about Scoot’s in-flight portal
Starting next month, low-cost carrier Scoot will launch in phases ScootHub, a new in-flight portal that Scoot says is the first of its kind in the region.
What is ScootHub?
A one-stop shop that passengers can access using their mobile devices while on board the plane to perform things such as ordering food and shopping for duty-free items.
How does it work?
Passengers can scan a QR code or manually connect to the plane's ScootHub network to access the portal.
Cabin crew will be alerted when an order is placed and deliver it to the passenger's seat.
At launch, payment for food is made to cabin crew by credit card and Scoot is aiming to allow credit card payments via the portal by end-March next year.
Both payment methods will be available for buying duty-free items.
Are there other features?
Passengers can browse travel content, view the flight's progress, play games and buy services such as in-seat power.
From next April, passengers can buy ground attractions and experiences in the destination city while on the plane.
What else is new?
The airline will use sustainable, leak-proof packaging for its on-board food items and will soon roll out a new range of food options.
This includes dishes such as congee and hawker food that previously did not translate well to a typical airline catering environment.