Scoot to launch Athens service in 2017, offering Australians new LCC option to Europe

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 16, 2016
Boeing 787-8 9V-OFC at Melbourne on Sunday November 1 2015. (William Reid)
A file image of a Scoot Boeing 787-8. (William Reid)

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.

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“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.

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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

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6 Comments

  • Marc

    says:

    Hard to believe only 200nm difference between Singapore-Athens and Phuket-Bonn. Flat world theorists will have a hard time explaining that one.

  • As I mentioned some time ago it was only a matter of time before another airline recognised that with Australia (and particularly Victoria) having such a large population of Greek origin citizens there is a lot of potential for offering one stop services to Athens with a low cost carrier. With it being only 6620.9 Nautical Miles from Perth to Athens and a flight time of a title over 15 hours with these modern aircraft available, this is traffic that Qantas/Jetstar could ill afford to lose. As outlined in Wikipedia, “Greeks are the seventh largest ethnic group in Australia, after those who declared their ancestry simply as “Australian”. In the 2006 census, 365,147 people reported to have Greek ancestry, either exclusively or in combination with another ethnic group.[2] Also, the 2006 census recorded 125,849 people born in Greece and 21,149 born in Cyprus (many of whom are Greek Cypriots)”.
    Well done Scoot though for recognising the potential especially with the connections already in place to a number of points in Australia. So sad that its another missed opportunity for our National flag carrier.

  • Craigy

    says:

    @Andrew

    As Qantas code shares with Emirates via Dubai to Athens it will be interesting how cheap Scoot will really be compared to the saver fares available with Qantas/Emirates.

    A few years ago when Jetstar started international services, it was suggested that they would look to flying to destinations in Southern Europe. Jetstar have said they are consolidating the current network before they look to expand again. Post consolidation, they may well look at southern Europe. Mel – Per – Ath would be a good route as it would save stopping in the Middle East or Asia.

    The fact that Singapore withdrew from the route suggests it is not economical for a full service carrier. It would be an interesting statistic to see what impact it has on the number of passengers who currently fly Qantas/Emirates once Scoot start.

    Trivia point – When Olympic flew Mel – Syd – Ath via Asia, the service was nick named the Coffin Express because of the number of coffins in the holds taking deceased Greeks back to Greece for burial.

  • ROZ

    says:

    It was just mentioned on Channel 9 news about Scoot flying t Greece & the panel discussing it were laughing at the absurdity of flying 27hours without food! They ddn’t mention that there was a possibility of buying meals on board or that passengers could take their own food!
    My husband & I have flown Scoot before & have found them to be an excellent airline! The only trouble we had was convincing a Singaporian baggage handler that my husband’s wheelchair did not need to be pulled to pieces & that the battery was not dangerous!
    I highly reccommend anyone wanting to visit Europe to use Scoot Air. Travelling from Australia to Singapore via Scoot is extremely economical with fares as low as $179 each way!
    Certainly a lot better than paying $2,500 for other airlines!

  • Hi Craigy;
    The problem is that Jetstar has been saying they are consolidating the current network before they look to expand again for quite some time now.. This consolidation has been happening now for the last 2 years. Bear in mind that the last of their 787’s was delivered nearly one year ago (4/9/2015). and their first is now nearly 3 years old I would have thought that its about time that Qantas was ordering more aircraft for Jetstar by now.

    Maybe we will hear something next week when Qantas results are released.

    Andrew

  • john

    says:

    yes Roz Scoot IS a very good airline & don’t know how they do it for the cost of their fares. If I was going to work in the UK, I’d get a one way fare to Athens, maybe go to Greek Islands for a short stay, before finding some cheap airfare to any UK airport. The big boys won’t be able to touch these type of fares.

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