Singapore Airlines' no-frills arm Scoot coming

Scoot Pte, the low-cost and medium haul airline arm of Singapore Airlines Group, will start flying to and from India from 24 May, making the parent firm the largest international airline group operating in India in terms of the number of destinations.

Scoot will fly to three Indian cities - Chennai, Amritsar and Jaipur.

In a phone interview on Friday, Bharath Mahadevan, country head of Scoot, told Mint the airline will start flights from Chennai and Amritsar to Singapore on 24 May, while Jaipur-Singapore flights will start on 2 October.

Mahadevan said Chennai will have daily flights, while Amritsar will start with three times a week and will increase the frequency to four times a week from 1 July.

Jaipur will start with flights four times a week, he said.

Singapore Airlines Group also owns full service airline Silk Air and low-cost airline Tiger Air, both of which fly to India.

With Scoot's entry, Singapore Airlines Group will be present in all four spaces - premium (Singapore Airlines), full service (Silk Air), low cost (Tiger Airways) and low cost-cum-medium haul (Scoot).

However, Tiger Airways will discontinue its profitable Chennai-Singapore route to facilitate Scoot's entry into India.

''The strategy is to build the market using a smaller aircraft (Silkair and Tiger), growing the market and then operating the airlines with larger aircraft (Singapore Airlines and Scoot),'' Mahadevan said.

With this announcement, the Singapore Airlines group has 15 destinations with non-stop flights from India to Singapore, more than any other international airline, he said.

''In fact, we have more direct international flights out of India than any other Indian carrier as well except Air India Ltd,'' Mahadevan said.

India was a tough market for international airlines, especially the India-Singapore route. AirAsia X and Jetstar Asia had to discontinue Indian operations owing to losses. IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, had to realign its India-Singapore flights.

Scoot claims that it unashamedly has no frills, with fares including seat-only and charges products and services separately.

Scoot operates wide-bodied Boeing 787 planes, also known as Dreamliners.

Mahadevan said the Singapore Airlines Group is confident about Indian market, adding that the airline group operates where no other Indian or international carrier operates such as Coimbatore and Vizag.

He said Chennai-Singapore route would be profitable from day one, while Amritsar will take 6-8 months for break even and Jaipur will take at least one year.

Scoot also announced inaugural one-way promotional fares (including taxes) from Chennai, Amritsar and Jaipur starting from $64.

Besides the presence of Scoot, Tiger Airways and Silk Air in India, Singapore Airlines had floated an airline joint venture in India - TATA SIA Airlines Ltd, known by the brand name Vistara, with Tata Sons Ltd in 2015.

Tata Sons holds a majority stake of 51 per cent in the company, while Singapore Airlines holds the rest.

Vistara flies 284 times weekly to and from Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi.