We are see­ing healthy cus­tomer de­mand on the flights that used to be branded un­der Tig­erair ...”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business -

When he was ap­pointed CEO of both Scoot Air­ways and Tig­erair, two bud­get air­lines owned by Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, in July, Lee Lik Hsin im­me­di­ately re­al­ized he would have no leisure time. His task was cut out: lead the com­pa­nies to higher growth tar­gets so as to com­pete with other es­tab­lished ri­vals.

Af­ter Tig­erair was merged with Scoot, the lat­ter an­nounced five new des­ti­na­tions from Sin­ga­pore, in­clud­ing Harbin in China, Honolulu in Hawaii and Kuan­tan in Malaysia. Scoot’s ser­vice net­work now cov­ers 65 des­ti­na­tions across 17 coun­tries and re­gions.

“The Harbin ser­vice will start this De­cem­ber to en­hance our ser­vice abil­ity be­tween South­east Asia and China’s north­east re­gion,” said Lee.

Harbin will be Scoot’s 19th des­ti­na­tion in China from Sin­ga­pore.

Hav­ing man­aged both Scoot and Tig­erair, Lee said the new, big­ger Scoot plans to add more des­ti­na­tions in the long run. The av­er­age load fac­tor for all its flights to China from Sin­ga­pore are above 80 per­cent, which is fairly healthy.

“We are see­ing healthy cus­tomer de­mand on the flights that used to be branded un­der Tig­erair, af­ter the changeover to the Scoot brand,” said the Sin­ga­porean ex­ec­u­tive and fa­ther of two. “Scoot will con­tinue to in­crease over­all brand aware­ness in all the Chi­nese cities we op­er­ate to, on our own and to­gether with our dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners.” CEO of Scoot

In 2016, Scoot launched flights to Chi­nese cities like Dalian, Zhengzhou and Wuxi and di­ver­si­fied sales chan­nels via travel agen­cies, both tra­di­tional and on­line, to reach more cus­tomers. Scoot will now tie up with var­i­ous tourism boards in China to stim­u­late in­flows of tourists into China.

Sup­ported by more than 2,000 em­ploy­ees, Scoot cur­rently has 14 wide-bod­ied Boe­ing 787 Dream­lin­ers and 23 Air­bus A320 air­craft.

Lee said the grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese mid­dle-class con­sumers will bring greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for Scoot. With greater dis­pos­able in­come, de­mand for leisure travel will in­crease.

The air­line cur­rently flies to many new top- and sec­ondtier cities in China such as Hangzhou, Tian­jin, Nan­jing, Xi’an, Qing­dao, Shenyang and Dalian. It is con­fi­dent of serv­ing more bud­get cus­tomers who are will­ing to travel from these cities by of­fer­ing them at­trac­tive prices where they can choose to pay only for the ser­vices they re­quire.

An eco­nomics grad­u­ate from the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, Lee said Scoot plans to play a big­ger role in ad­vanc­ing trans­porta­tion ser­vices this year for mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in coun­tries and re­gions par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The ser­vice, in­fra­struc­ture and trade net­work pro­posed by China in 2013 en­vi­sions a Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and a 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road. It has been warmly wel­comed by over 100 coun­tries, re­gions and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions as it meets their de­sire for peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes, ur­ban­iza­tion, re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and other new mar­ket growth points.

Scoot is the only air­line ply­ing the routes of Sin­ga­poreZhengzhou and Sin­ga­poreXi’an, two ma­jor cities in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Lee said these routes are still new and there is much po­ten­tial to in­crease the fre­quency and ca­pac­ity, in tan­dem with the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in these re­gions. Apart from its dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners, the air­line has teamed up with the lo­cal air­ports to jointly stim­u­late more travel to and from these cities.

On han­dling hard­ship, Lee said it is im­por­tant to re­main calm in the face of ad­ver­sity. “It al­lows you to ra­tio­nally as­sess your op­tions and plan your next steps to over­come the dif­fi­cul­ties. It also helps one to put things in per­spec­tive, and with that, learn and grow from the set­backs.”

Li Xiaojin, a pro­fes­sor at the Civil Avi­a­tion Uni­ver­sity of China in Tian­jin, said di­rect flights be­tween first-tier Chi­nese cities and sec­ond-tier for­eign cities, as well as sec­ondtier Chi­nese cities and top-tier for­eign cities, are ex­pected to grow rapidly in the fu­ture, given the sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for in­ter­na­tional travel in China.

Lee Lik Hsin ,

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Lee Lik Hsin, CEO of Scoot Air­ways, soon af­ter an­nounc­ing the merger of Scoot and Tig­erair on July 25, 2017.

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