Friday, November 18, 2016

Scoot eyes long-haul flights from India

New Delhi: With budget airlines controlling almost 65% of domestic skies, it is now the turn of foreign low-cost carriers (LCC) with wide-body planes to eye the lucrative long-haul traffic to-and-from India.
Singapore Airlines' (SIA) long-haul LCC Scoot wants to operate its Boeing 787 Dreamliners on Singapore-India-Europe/Gulf routes under something known as "fifth freedom" of aviation. Under this freedom, an airline can fly from its home country to a second nation and take passengers from there to a third country and same on return.
"There is a market for long-haul LCCs to come into India or be based here. If allowed, our fare (basic, with everything else like baggage check-in, meals, beverages and Wi-Fi costing extra) could be Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 on Delhi-London and Delhi-New York, respectively, one-way," said Bharath Mahadevan, India head of Scoot. The LCC flies from Amritsar, Jaipur and Chennai to Singapore. It will soon merge SIA's short-haul LCC Tiger into it and then fly from eight Indian cities to Singapore.
However, airlines from Singapore have used up the bilateral (flying rights) with India, while Indian carriers are still using about half of their share. So, an increase in bilateral that could enable Scoot to have low-cost flights to Europe may not happen in a hurry. Lufthansa is also planning for some time to have its long-haul LCC flights to India.
18/11/16 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India