From the US to Singapore, economy is king

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed December 15, 2016 11:37

From the US to Singapore, economy is king

The US majors are all introducing ultra low cost economy fares to better compete with the ULCC Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant, while Singapore Airlines is also moving to introduce more economy seats with the addition of its longer range A350s into its fleet in 2018. As part owner of Vistara and NokScoot, and ownership of its own low-cost Scoot brand, SIA wants to replicate the success of these low-cost carriers and revive the flagship brand.

SIA chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong has commented on how the airline has struggled to compete with gulf carriers, which are encroaching on its core business travel demographic as well as local low-cost competition in the economy space. Goh plans to renew SIA’s focus on long-haul expansion using its new A350 fleet as well as the 787-10 once delivered.

SIA has described the long range version of the A350 as a game changer for the airline, which wants to resume nonstop flights to New York and Los Angeles that were halted in 2013 due to fuel costs. New routes to more US cities on the east coast are also planned.

Scoot also has expansion plans and may seek to utilise its 787 fleet to fly longer haul routes to the US also. “Scoot might also look to some kind of operation to the US” Goh told reporters.

SIA has yet to reveal the configuration of its A350 fleet but rumours are that it will be fitted out in two classes, rather than three.

SIA and Lufthansa have also recently received approval from the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) to enter into a partnership that will also include revenue sharing for some flights. The two carriers will also jointly market flights that include services from the region to points in Europe.

Meanwhile, Airbus’ innovation unit, A3, has released a new modular cabin concept called Transpose. Essentially, the fuselage is broken into identical and repeatable sections that can be customized to any layout needs, from bars and sleeping quarters, to cargo and first-class seating sections. When the aircraft reaches its destination, each section could be unloaded quickly individually and the entire aircraft reconfigured for the next route.

If developed, this modular concept has the potential to cut down on turnaround and un/loading times, it could accommodate more economy class or first class seats as required or take more cargo. It also would help transition aircraft to new owners benefitting lessors and traders alike, widebody aircraft specifically could benefit from this. But it is just a concept and probably won’t be developed and even if it was, the set-up costs would have to show some ROI for the original owner as well as the secondary market.

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed December 15, 2016 11:37