Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s budget carrier Scoot doesn’t want to use the city’s new terminal because it lacks connections to the rest of the airport and sufficient berths for large jets, the unit’s chief executive officer said.
Changi airport’s S$1.28 billion ($1 billion) Terminal Four, which is being designed to handle 16 million passengers a year when it opens in 2017, has only four bays for widebody aircraft and will lack a light-rail connection to the other terminals, Scoot Airways Pte CEO Campbell Wilson said at a conference in Sydney today. Scoot currently uses Boeing Co. 777 widebody aircraft and will get its Dreamliners from November.
Scoot, which has flown about three million passengers since it started services in June 2012, is owned by Changi’s largest user Singapore Air and code-shares flights with budget carrier Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd., in which the city-state’s flag carrier has 40 percent stake. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. in April became the first airline to announce a move to the new terminal.
“This terminal is a big folly, frankly,” Wilson said at the event. “It really detracts from the whole purpose of building a hub airport in the first place and I think it would be a very severe retrograde step for Changi.”
A shift to T4 “is not an attractive proposition for us, and so therefore it is not something that we are looking to do,” he later said on the sidelines of the event. “On balance we would likely stay in the main terminals.”
Scoot and Tiger, both Singapore-based budget carriers, have an agreement to feed passengers into each other’s network. In February, the Competition Commission of Singapore said it’s seeking feedback on the proposed plan to enhance their tieup.
T4 will give airlines “room for growth in the medium term,” Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan said in an e-mailed statement. “Unlike the previous budget terminal, T4 will allow for airside transfers, enabling passengers to connect to onward flights at the other terminals without having to clear immigration.”
Changi Airport is “confident” that the current minimum connecting time for transfers between Scoot and other airlines at T2 can be achieved for transfers across T2 and T4, Tan said.
Seventeen narrow-body aircraft and four widebody aircraft will be able to connect directly to the airport terminal via air bridges, according to a statement from Changi last November. The airport will link T4 with other terminals through shuttles.
“For a carrier operating with potentially partners in the other terminals, it has a detrimental effect on either actual connectivity or perceived connectivity, both of which are detrimental to our business and by extension the Singapore hub, and by extension the economic benefits that go to Singapore from that,” Wilson said.
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