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Singapore Airlines Raises Prospect of Cheap Flights to Asia

The carrier is soon to launch a new budget airline, specialising in low-cost long-haul flights to Asian destinations.

It has always been possible to book cheap holidays in Asia, but the cost of a long-haul flight to the region has always been considerable, especially in comparison to the budget airlines’ services to Europe, north Africa and the Middle East. All that may be about to change, however, thanks to Singapore Airlines, which this week confirmed plans to begin operating a long-haul budget carrier service by mid-2012.

The airline already owns low-cost carrier SilkAir and is the major shareholder in no-frills Tiger Airways, but this new project is the first time it is taking the concept into long-haul travel.

The creation of a new budget airline serving UK flights to the region could well spark a new price war which will only benefit the British holidaymaker, with more cheap flights to Thailand, China, Singapore and other Asian destinations than ever before. The prospect of being able to get all the way to the Asia-Pacific region on a low fare will also give more impetus to people seeking to book cheap holidays in Australia.

Singapore Airlines said that the new venture will be called Scoot and will be offering seats on flights to east Asia, China and Australia in its first year of operations, before expanding its services into Europe – and into the UK. It also wants to begin serving destinations in the Middle East and Africa.

Scoot will initially start with a fleet of four Boeing 777-200 wide-bodied aircraft, in order to better help it compete with its most likely rival, AirAsia X, a low-cost long-haul subsidiary of Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia.

Cheap holidays in Asia are increasingly becoming popular among mainstream holidaymakers, after having long been the preserve of “travellers” and students on their gap years. The world travel and tourism industry is waking up to this fascinating region’s vast potential.