The two newest airlines in Hawaii are Malaysia-based AirAsia X and Singapore-based Scoot. Both are low-cost carriers, the presence of which is helping keep airfares to Japan in check. Unfortunately, though, Scoot Airlines is ending its Honolulu service in the near future.
My friend and points and miles extraordinaire, Ryan Kanda, brought the news of Scoot’s departure from Hawaii to my attention. And it’s news that I, of course, find unfortunate. After all, any reduction in competition is a negative change. But, Scoot’s parent, Singapore Airlines, doesn’t seem to think Hawaii is a right fit for them after all.
End of Service
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Scoot intends to leave the Hawaii market in June of 2019. That’s about a year and a half since the airline first began service to Hawaii back in December 2017. However, according to airline officials, the route has suffered from weak demand. Further, the route cut is part of a larger shuffling of services being made by Singapore Airlines as it absorbs SilkAir.
Currently, Scoot services Hawaii four time a week between Honolulu and Singapore Chiangi with a stopover in Osaka, Japan. The route is operated by the carrier’s Boeing 787-8 and offers airfares as low as $240 one-way between Osaka and Honolulu.
How Scoot Compares to the Competition
Scoot’s pricing model is unbundled, meaning passengers must pay for seat selections, checked bags, and even meals. It’s the same model offered by fellow LCC AirAsia X, which operates between Honolulu and Kuala Lumpur via Osaka. However, AirAsia appears to offer plusher seats than Scoot, which offers seats that look a lot like those on Hawaiian Air’s 717 fleet. Not what I’d want to sit on for eight to nine hours. Plus AirAsia offers lie-flat sleeper seats for those that wish to upgrade and more frequencies.
Likewise, Hawaiian offers a much higher level of service at competitive prices to Japan too. In recent history, it’s been possible to find fares on Hawaiian between Hawaii and Japan as low as $500 roundtrip. And flights on Hawaiian don’t come with any extra fees. All passengers receive at least two complimentary checked bags, meals, and advance seat selections. Meanwhile, United also offers fares around the $500 to $600 range too.
And, of course, the big unknown in the Hawaii-Japan market is the commencement of ANA’s A380 service early next year. As you may recall, ANA has three Airbus A380’s that they plan to put into service between Honolulu and Japan. How exactly they plan to do this, though, is beyond me. Adding that many seats to the market will cause prices to crash, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do in practice. Nevertheless, prices are going to come down, in my opinion, once this service begins, something Hawaiian and Japan Airlines are already taking steps to hedge against.
Scoot Airlines is Ending Its Honolulu Service, Final Thoughts
Again, this is bad news for travelers between Hawaii and Japan. Especially those that fly between Honolulu and Osaka. However, Scoot’s flight is not one I’d consider taking. Their hard product looks far too uncomfortable for a flight of that duration. And especially since Scoot’s full-service competitors continue to offer competitive fares. But I wouldn’t assume others will increase airfares just yet. Like I said earlier in this post, I believe ANA’s A380 service is going to be a game changer in this market. Of course, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see exactly how that service impacts Hawaii-Japan flying.