BUDGET AIRLINE Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, is interested in adding flights to and from the Philippines, but cited constraints in aviation facilities.
“We want to [add flights], but the Philippine airports are very much constrained in terms of landing slots. We’ll have to see what we can do,” Scoot Chief Executive Officer Lee Lik Hsin said in an interview on Thursday.
The country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, suffers from congestion, with 39.5 million people passing through its four terminals in 2016. This is significantly more than its designed capacity of 30.5 million passengers per year.
Scoot, which merged with TigerAir in July, is seeing continued growth in the Philippine market. It flies from Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Kalibo to international destinations via Singapore.
“We expect to increase, that’s because of the additional network opportunities… Previously, the two airlines were small. [The merger] gives us a much bigger network and [allows] us to give more choice to Philippine customers more choices for more destinations,” Mr. Lee said.
Mr. Lee is hoping the Scoot brand, which gives importance on customer engagement, can attract more customers in the Philippine market.
“It’s different to what TigerAir used to be like. We hope that it will be a welcome change. The preliminary response has been good. Our booking numbers have been good after the brand change, we did not see any loss of passengers… I think the brand proposition now is more comprehensive. The difference is customer engagement, the experience part,” he said.
The airline also claims to have an on-time performance of 80%, which is a high rate for a budget airline, according to Mr. Lee.
Scoot is launching seasonal, nonstop flights to Sapporo, Japan, starting Nov. 3 until Feb. 11, 2018, with up to two flights a week, in addition to existing flights routed via Taipei. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo