Scoot eyes long-haul flights from India

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. 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. If the bilateral are increased, we can look at Singapore-Delhi/Mumbai/Chennai/Kolkata-Europe/Gulf flights. We can fly to places like Zurich, Paris, Manchester (not London), Amsterdam, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. There is a huge pent-up demand for international travel from India and it needs to be tapped at the right price point. The demand is very strong in tier II cities," Mahadevan said. But whether India allows this remains to be seen as its long haul players ?? Air India and Jet ?? will be badly affected. "Under UPA-I and II, Dubai and Abu Dhabi became the hubs of Indian international travellers. Allowing foreign long-haul LCCs to fly between India and West will be disastrous for us," said a senior official of a full-service Indian carrier, adding, "Indian carriers may do this on their own in some time." At present, Indian budget airlines ?? IndiGo, AI Express and SpiceJet (GoAir will begin overseas flights shortly) -- fly their single aisle Airbus A-320s and Boeing 737s to neighbouring places like Gulf and Southeast Asia. Airbus has for years been trying to sell it's twin aisle A-330s to Big Boy Indian LCC IndiGo ?? which controls 40% of domestic market ?? that can be used to fly medium to long haul, means places like Europe and one-stop to even Americas. Courtesy: The Economic Times

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