Scoot To Receive First Airbus A321neo In Late 2020

The Singapore-based budget airline Scoot will add 16 new Airbus A321neos to its fleet in late 2020. Owned by Singapore Airlines and based out of Changi, Scoot is targeting double-digit growth by the close of the 2020/21 financial year. It sees the greater fuel efficiency offered by the A321neo as a prime opportunity to increase its offering in the medium-haul market.

A Scoot Airbus A320 before landing
A Scoot Airbus A320, registration 9V-TRN, coming in to land. Photo, Photo: 湯小沅 via Flickr

Flight Global reported today that Scoot will be expanding its fleet with an addition of 16 A321neos in late 2020, 10 of which will be leased. This will add to a current inventory consisting primarily of Airbus units, namely 28 A320s and one A319, as well as 37 A320neos on order.

Scoot opted to upgrade six of its A320neo orders to A321neos, which come with a total of 236 seats, 50 more than the smaller model. In a statement carried by Flight Global, Scoot’s CEO Lee Lik Hsin said that,

“The A321neos will inject growth possibilities to our network plans for 2020 and beyond”.

The A321neo

Scoot joins the long list of customers who have placed orders for the Airbus A321neo. This year has seen many airlines take delivery of their new aircraft, which has been hailed as ‘gamechanging’, thanks to its 15% greater fuel efficiency.

This improved fuel efficiency is thanks to the ‘new engine option’, which comes in the form of Pratt & Whitney PW1000G turbofan engines. Additional improvements include redesigned winglets, termed ‘sharklets’ by Airbus.

All in all, the improvements offered by the A321neo have made it a highly popular addition to fleets around the world. According to a statement issued by Airbus, AirAsia currently has the largest single order of A321neos, totaling 353 units.

An Airbus A321neo in flight
An A321neo test-bed departs from Toulouse, September 2016. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

Despite an impressive number of large orders for the Airbus A321neo, reports surfaced earlier this month of an excessive pitch anomaly. An alert by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency was issued on 17th July warning operators of the problem.

This issue is the same issue Boeing experienced with the 737 MAX, ultimately leading them to install the MCAS software. It was this software which is thought to have fatefully resulted in the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Scoot looking ahead

Scoot was indirectly affected by the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX as it was due to receive 14 737-800NGs from its sister carrier SilkAir. The grounding of SilkAir’s six 737 MAX subsequently delayed the transfer indefinitely.

A SilkAir Boeing 737-800 at Singapore Changi
A SilkAir Boeing 737-800 at Changi Airport, October 2018. Photo, Hugh Llewelyn – Flickr

Scoot says its fleet of narrowbody Airbus A321neos will serve medium-haul flights with durations of less than six hours. This will help the airline expand its regional flight offerings to China and Indonesia, aided by the addition of some of SilkAir’s current flight slots.

Scoot is also preparing for its October 1st move from Changi Terminal 2 to Changi Terminal 1, the latter of which has undergone extensive expansion in recent years.

In an interview with Channel News Asia, Scoot’s CEO Lee Lik Hsin summarised the past couple of years for his airline, “To compete, you do need some level of scale. That’s the part that we’ve been trying to address. And I think we’ve addressed that pretty well.”