By Benjamin Cost
Starting this August, Singapore Airlines’ long-haul budget subsidiary Scoot (now also known by its Mandarin name Ku Hang 酷航 which literally means “Cool Airlines”) will launch four nonstop flights a week between Singapore and Tianjin, and by the end of 2012, the low-cost airline will run trips to and from a total of five Chinese cities.
For those of our readers living in Beijing, Scoot will unfortunately not be coming to you anytime soon because of what it has described as its “long-term strategy to connect passengers from developing cities in China to Singapore, and other international destinations”.
The real reason why Scoot won’t be flying to Beijing (according to Shanghaiist anyway) is that Scoot, as a relative latecomer, is unlikely going to get permission from China’s civil aviation authority to fly to any of the first-tier cities in the near term.
The Beijing-Singapore route has already been snagged by pan-Asian budget carrier Jetstar, the Qantas subsidiary that is also flying Hangzhou-Singapore. If Scoot chooses to serve the Shanghai region out of Hangzhou, it will go head-to-head with Jetstar.
Even if Scoot managed to get pass the regulatory hurdles to serve Beijing and Shanghai, there are also concerns by Scoot’s parent company Singapore Airlines, that the mothership’s highly profitable first-tier city routes would be cannibalised.
Down South in Guangzhou, Singapore Airlines has already seen its takings go down since Tiger Airways, a short-haul budget airline that it also owns, began flying there.