ATHENS - Low-cost carrier Scoot will be launching five new routes over the next 12 months.
Four of these routes are short to mid-haul routes, and one is long-haul, its chief executive Lee Lik Hsin said on Tuesday (June 20) at an event in Athens, Greece marking the airline's inaugural long-haul flight.
While Mr Lee declined to reveal the destinations, The Straits Times had previously reported about Scoot's plans to fly to Honolulu, United States, with a stop in Osaka, Japan.
More details will be revealed on July 25, when Scoot's integration with sister airline Tigerair is completed, said Mr Lee.
Scoot's first flight to Athens - also its first European destination - took off from Changi Airport at 2.45am (Singapore time) on Tuesday, with 316 passengers on board. They were treated to in-flight games and prizes.
The plane - the airline's newest Boeing 787 Dreamliner dubbed the "Mous-Scoot-Ka", a reference to the popular Greek dish Moussaka - landed at Athens International Airport at 1.45pm (Singapore time).
The 11½-hour flight is the longest flight operated by Scoot, with the flight distance exceeding 10,000 km.
On board the inaugural flight was marketer Hendric Tay, 29, who was on his second trip to Greece.
"It's exciting that a low cost carrier is flying to Europe and finally Singaporeans can fly to Europe for cheap," he said.
Mr Lee said Athens was chosen as Scoot's first long-haul destination as it was an
"Scoot is currently the only airline and low-cost carrier offering direct flight between Southeast Asia and Greece," he said, adding that demand for the route has been good.
For the summer months, seven out of 10 seats are filled each time a plane departs, he added.
Chief executive of Athens International Airport Yiannis Paraschis said the addition of the Scoot route "establishes the Greek capital as the European gateway for the carrier's flights from and to the Asia Pacific region".
Guests on the Singapore-Athens flight can pre-order meals featuring traditional Greek food items such as Greek salad and Moussaka.
Amid mounting competition, Singapore Airlines has been expanding its budget operations through subsidiaries Scoot, which operates medium- and long-haul flights, and Tigerair, which operates shorter flights within the region.
Tigerair will officially come under the Scoot brand on July 25. The flight designator code for all Scoot flights will then change from TZ to TR - the code now used for Tigerair flights.
"Tigerair operates to more countries than Scoot does. By retaining the Tigerair TR code, it simplified our regulatory processes with the authorities," said Mr Lee.
No staff will be made redundant during the shift, he added.
"We are expecting good growth upwards of double digit percentages over the next few years and so, very quickly, we will grow to require the people we have, and even more," he said.
The addition of Athens brings the Scoot and Tigerair network to a total of 60 destinations in 17 countries.
Scoot's Singapore-Athens flight operates four times a week. To celebrate its inaugural Athens flight, Scoot is offering promotional one- way fares from Singapore to Athens, starting at $268, from now until June 30.