Australians will have a new one-stop option to Europe from June 2017 when Scoot launches flights to Greece from its Singapore hub in one of the longest flights in the world to be operated by a low-cost carrier.
Scoot, a wholly-owned unit of Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) Budget Aviation Holdings, announced on Tuesday it planned to expand into Europe with four flights a week between Singapore and Athens with Boeing 787-8s.
“Guests have requested us to fly to Europe for a while, and Scoot is excited to finally oblige,” Budget Aviation Holdings chief executive Lee Lik Hsin said in a statement.
“Scoot has devoted much thought to configuring our cabin product and services to elevate and transform the low-cost travel experience, enabled by our world-first all-787 Dreamlliner fleet, and this has positioned us well to mount our first ever long-haul flight between Asia Pacific and Europe.”
Scoot said the 787-8s to be used for flights to Athens would differently configured from the type already part of the fleet.
The 787-8s currently flying in Scoot colours have 21 Scootbiz and 314 economy seats. However, the 787-8s to serve Athens, and likely to other points in Europe as the airline grows its footprint on the continent, would have a smaller Scootbiz cabin comprising just 18 seats, while economy would increase to 329 seats. The aircraft would also have eight crew rest bunks.
The TZ702 Singapore-Athens flight has been scheduled to depart at 0200 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arriving at 0830. The reciprocal TZ701 takes off at 1200, arriving in Singapore at 0425 the next day.
While the new flights, which take off on June 20 2017, represented a new alternative for Australians headed to Europe alongside established one-stop options from full-service carriers, flight times indicate the bargain basement fares could involve significant transit times at Singapore in both directions.
In Australia, Scoot serves the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney from its Singapore hub.
At 4,884nm, Singapore-Athens would be one of the longest flights in the world operated by a low-cost carrier, rivalling Eurowings’ Cologne Bonn-Phuket (5,074nm) and Norweigan’s Paris-Los Angeles (4,927nm). Norweigan also operates similarly long routes to Bankok from Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
AirAsia X previously flew from Kuala Lumpur to London (Gatwick) with Airbus A340s but abandoned the 5,723nm route in 2012 due to high fuel prices.
Singapore Airlines previously served Athens but dropped the route in 2012 after 40 years of operations. The Star Alliance member returned to Athens on a seasonal basis in 2014.
In May, Scoot launched new services to Chennai and Amritsar in India, as well as to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
A sample of some long-haul low-cost carrier flights around the world (distance in nautical miles)
1. Cologne Bonn-Phuket (5,074nm) – operated by Eurowings with Airbus A330-200
2. Paris (Charles de Gaulle)-Los Angeles (4,927nm) – operated by Norweigan with Boeing 787-8
2. Singapore-Athens (4,884nm) – to be operated by Scoot from June 20 2017 with Boeing 787-8
3. Melbourne-Honolulu (4,783nm) – operated by Jetstar with Boeing 787-8
5. Sao Paulo (Campinas)-Lisbon (4,268nm) – operated by Azul Brazilian Airlines with Airbus A330-200