Scoot adds Singapore-Hong Kong and pressures Jetstar HK
The interminable waiting game for Qantas in setting up Jetstar Hong Kong became more insufferable this afternoon when Singapore Airlines’s widebody low fare brand Scoot announced services between Singapore and Hong Kong from 15 November.
Jetstar HK is essentially still born in the SAR because Qantas’s avowed aim, of setting up a Qantas controlled Jetstar franchise in Hong Kong is by definition in conflict with its Basic Law requirement that airlines carrying the Hong Kong flag must be both based and controlled in Hong Kong.
However Scoot will now be moving in on Singapore based Jetstar Asia’s A320 services between Singapore and Hong Kong with a wide body 777-200. In Hong Kong, where slots are scarce and begging to be used by jets offering more seats than single aisle jets, Scoot has an opportunity to make life hard for both Jetstar Asia straight away, and Jetstar Hong Kong in however many years it takes for the Hong Kong authorities to approve or disapprove its application to operate.
Which poses the question, why can’t Jetstar achieve the coverage it desires in Hong Kong by flying to and from the SAR with jets from its other franchises, Jetstar Asia (now) and Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) subject to future traffic deals, as an alternative to the high costs and obvious hostilities that apply in Hong Kong?
The obvious part answer to that question is that it needs to be Hong Kong based to fly its low fare franchise between the SAR and cities in China, Korea and SE Asia in general. But it ought to be just as obvious that it isn’t going to get those rights soon enough to prevent Scoot making it marginal between Hong Kong and its existing Singapore base.