An Early Present: Scoot To Begin 5th Freedom London Gatwick Flights

Scoot is coming to the UK. Starting just before Christmas, it’ll operate Singapore to London Gatwick via Bangkok, with fifth freedom traffic rights between the Thai capital and Gatwick. It replaces Norwegian on Gatwick-Singapore and crucially gives the UK’s second busiest airport non-stop access to Bangkok, its largest unserved Asian market. Thailand has now reopened to fully vaccinated UK citizens.

Singapore Airlines’ lower-cost subsidiary Scoot will begin Singapore-Bangkok-Gatwick using B787-8s. Photo: Vismay Bhadra via Flickr.

Scoot announces London

With the first flight on December 16th, eight rotations will operate in the festive month. It’ll then return regularly from March 22nd onwards, normally three-weekly. However, Gatwick has told the author that a fourth-weekly service is probable at some point in the summer season.

Next March, Gatwick-Bangkok is available for £170 one-way and Singapore £200. These prices only include the seat; bags and food are extra. Meanwhile, ScootPlus – which includes more legroom, 30kg of checked luggage, 15kg of hand baggage, meals, in-flight connectivity, meals – is available for £305 to Bangkok and £472 to Singapore.

London comes shortly after Scoot resumed Singapore to Berlin, both via Athens and non-stop. It currently serves Athens four-weekly and Berlin seven-weekly, three non-stop and four via the Greek capital.

Scoot to Berlin
Scoot has recently returned to Berlin. Photo: Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

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A daytime flight to the UK

The Gatwick schedule is as follows, with all times local. I’ll be a daytime flight to the UK. Note the 60-minute turnaround at Bangkok’s main airport in both directions.

  • TR750: Singapore to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi: 11:35-13:05
  • TR750: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Gatwick: 14:05-20:05
  • TR751: Gatwick to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi: 22:05-16:10+1 the next day
  • TR751: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Singapore: 17:10-20:45

The B787-8 will serve London with the 329-seat configuration to be used. These have 18 ScootPlus seats together with 33 in ScootinSilence and 278 in economy.

Scoot to Gatwick
Operating via Bangkok adds just 71 miles (114km) to what a non-stop would be. Image: GCMap.

Gatwick gets a non-stop to Bangkok

Perhaps the most significant part of the announcement is that Gatwick will be connected non-stop to Bangkok, its largest unserved market in Asia.

Booking data shows that approximately 90,000 round-trip point-to-point passengers flew between the two in 2019, mainly via Dubai and Doha. Gatwick will welcome British Airways to Doha on December 8th, while Qatar Airways will resume the route in 2022.

Norwegian to Singapore
Norwegian began Gatwick to Singapore in September 2019. Following its end, Singapore was one of Gatwick’s largest unserved markets in Asia. Others include Colombo, Denpasar, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, and Mumbai. Photo: Norwegian.

Scoot replaces Norwegian to Singapore

While Norwegian no longer operates long-haul, it connected Gatwick to 18 airports across the US, the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. Singapore was its only Asian destination from the London airport. The long route of 6,758 miles (10,876km) began in September 2017 and ran until March 2019.

The UK CAA shows that Norwegian carried 119,140 round-trip Singapore passengers in 2018. As it had 136,920 seats, it achieved a seat load factor of 87%. Given it was the first full year, this was a strong performance, but SLF is always just one part of the picture.

Such passenger volume so quickly was likely on the back of low average fares, especially as the route ended after 19 months. For a fairer and proper route evaluation, passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) must always be considered.

What do you make of this development? Let us know in the comments.