Singapore’s Budget Airline Sees Quick Recovery in Leisure Travel

Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s budget arm Scoot expects leisure travel will recover quickly once more people in Asia are vaccinated and governments ease border restrictions.

Scoot has brought many of its aircraft back into operation recently to get its fleet ready for the expected spike in demand, Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer of the low-cost airline, said Monday. The trend is evident in the U.S. and Europe, where air travel ahead of the summer peak has sprung back, he said.

“We currently have more aircraft than would normally be required by the schedule that we are operating, rotating through flights so we’re keeping them warm,” Wilson said at a business update briefing. “That ensures that the lead time in order to put them back into more regular service is very, very minimal.”

Europe and North America have been leading the recovery as more countries ease rules on quarantine for travelers that have been fully inoculated. Delta Air Lines Inc. even has a lack of pilots. By contrast, demand in Asia remains restricted as low vaccination rates and new waves of Covid cases keep borders shut, limiting travel to domestic destinations.

Scoot’s passenger capacity is currently about 17% of pre-Covid levels and by July that’s expected to increase to 23%. Growth thereafter will be moderate, depending on border restrictions easing, Wilson said. Like other airlines, Scoot has been flying more cargo to offset weak travel demand since last year to generate revenue.

Scoot has a fleet of 49 Boeing Co. 787s and Airbus SE A320 family aircraft, including three new Airbus A321neos leased this year from BOC Aviation Ltd. It has another 48 more aircraft on order.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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