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APRIL 2024

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Scoot swoops into second tier destinations with new Embraer jets

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April 1st 2024

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Watch this space. Read More » That’s the message from Brazilian plane maker Embraer as its first E190-E2 regional jet to operate in the Asia-Pacific entered service with SIA LCC, Scoot, on May 7. Embraer Asia-Pacific vice president, Raul Villaron, believes there are potential customers for the jet in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia where the air framer is engaged in campaigns to clinch deals for the jet.

“We can feel it in our hands,” was his assessment of Asia-Pacific opportunities. He said Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet were observing the E195 operations of fellow Vietnamese carrier, Bamboo Airways, on exclusively profitable routes, indicating the Southeast Asian country would be a key market as the two airlines are ramping up capacity post-pandemic.

Scoot’s first E190-E2, Explorer 3.0, departed Singapore on May 7 for Thailand’s paradise of Krabi with another service to Hat Yai, also in Thailand, to commence at a later date.

The second E190-E2 has arrived in Singapore and is in the final phase of preparations for operations. Another seven aircraft are to be progressively delivered to the end of 2025. Later in May, Scoot will add Koh Samui in Thailand, Miri in Malaysia and then Kuantan and Sibu, also in Malaysia, to the E190 network.

The deal to supply nine of the jets to Scoot, all leased from Florida lessor, Azorra, marks a major breakthrough in the region for Embraer even though other Embraer types operate in the Asia-Pacific: Bamboo Airways, Japan Airlines, Fuji Dream Airlines, Alliance Airlines in Australia and Tianjin Airlines in China.

In another development shortly before the Scoot launch, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Embraer is exploring a new aircraft to compete directly with the 737 MAX and A320neo families. It is hardly surprising, given Boeing’s problems and supply chain issues that the Brazilian manufacturer is considering new designs. The WSJ report indicated Embraer’s internal assessments have determined the company has the ability to develop a next-generation narrow-body aircraft. Its current stable of single-aisles – the E195-E2 and the E192-E2 are essentially regional jets and are much smaller than the 737 and the A320 series.

Following publication of the story, Embraer said it “certainly has the capability to develop a new narrow-body aircraft. However, we have a young and very successful portfolio of products produced in recent years. We are really focused on selling those products and making Embraer bigger and stronger”.

Scoot put on a gala show for the launch of its first E190-E2. In attendance before the aircraft’s departure from Changi airport were Singapore’s Minister of Transport and Second Minister of Finance, Chee Hong Tat, Scoot CEO, Leslie Thng, and Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong. The carrier also flew in media from around the region, including from China, Japan, Australia, India and Taiwan, to witness the inaugural flight.

Guests had a first look at the aircraft interior: 112 seats in a 2-2 single class configuration, a standard seat pitch of 29” and large cabin windows. Embraer describes the E190-E2 as the industry’s quietest and most fuel-efficient single aisle aircraft.

“Today’s launch of our first E190-E2 would not have been possible without the support of our partners and unwavering commitment of all our staff to ensure a successful entry into service. The E190-E2, with its modern operating capabilities and fuel-efficient credentials, was a natural choice as we looked to grow Scoot’s fleet,” said Thng. “We are confident this new-generation aircraft will continue our presence in the region, enhance our connectivity to non-metro destinations and provide our customers with even more memorable travel experiences.”

“We would like to congratulate Scoot on this momentous occasion,” said chief commercial officer of Embraer Commercial Aviation, Martyn Holmes, “We are proud to see the modern and fuel-efficient E2 aircraft grace the skies over Singapore and Southeast Asia and would like to thank all the involved stakeholders who worked tirelessly to make this possible.”

The addition of the Embraer jets increases Scoot’s fleet from two types to three including 787s and A320 family aircraft. This mix adds complexity to the LCC’s operations, but Thng said the Embraer jet was chosen after a thorough evaluation and he was confident it made business sense. SIA pilots flying 787s or A320s have been retrained to crew the Embraer, but a recruitment drive is underway to employ more pilots to fly the E190s as they arrive at the carrier in the next 18 months.

Thng stressed Scoot’s decision to acquire the Embraer was made in full cooperation with SIA.

The deal to sign and deliver the planes was completed in a relatively short span of 14 months as the acquisition is part of the SIA Group’s plan to quickly enter the market and take on untapped, lean routes. The Embraer will replace A320s to some short-haul routes and enable an increase in frequency. Linking Singapore directly with second and third tier destinations in the region will allow passengers flying into Singapore on SIA or Scoot to easily travel on to popular resort destinations in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Embraer has a range of some six hours so it is expected Scoot will operate the E190-E2 to markets further afield. Scoot flies to 67 destinations across 15 countries and territories in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Europe. In first quarter 2024, Embraer swung to a US$29 million profit boosted by a surge in business jet deliveries.

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