After months of speculation between the Airbus A220-300 and a potential purchase of Embraer aircraft, the low cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, Scoot, has finally broken silence and announced that they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the aircraft lessor Azzora to introduce 9 brand new Embraer E190-E2 to their fleet of aircraft, first of which to be delivered in late 2024. Scoot will be the first Singapore carrier to operate the E190-E2, marking a significant milestone for Embraer.
This news might come as a surprise to many given that Singapore Airlines Group has rarely deviated from its long-standing tradition of purchasing only Airbus or Boeing aircraft, with the exception of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 that Singapore Airlines operated from 1978 to 1983. To understand how this historic moment came to be, lets take a look at what Scoot has planned with the introduction of the E190-E2.
Possibly Tapping Into Low-Density Markets?
Scoot operates a vast network of flights across Southeast, South and East Asia, with flights to popular destinations like Denpasar, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, Mumbai, Cochi, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Using their fleet of A320ceos, A320neos, A321neos and Boeing 787-8 and -9s, Scoot has comfortably filled most of their flights to profitable capacity. However, Singapore Airlines Group have long since wanted to tap into non-metropolitan destinations like Kuantan and Koh Samui, with restrictions on aircraft size, purchasing aircraft like the E190-E2 will provide a way in for Scoot to re-enter this lucrative market. One of the possible key destinations that many travellers can look forward to is the re-instatement of the Singapore-Koh Samui route, which was previously operated by Singapore's Silkair. Currently, Scoot plans to operate the 112 seat configured E190-E2 in short to medium haul routes of up to 5 hours, complementing their current fleet of aircraft.
Comparing with Similar Aircraft Types
To see how the Embraer E190-E2 compares against the Airbus A320neo and the A220-300, here's a table to visualize the seating capacities and the range for the three aircraft:
Cruising speed (knots)
*Capacity figures based on standard 1-class configuration
It must be reminded that size is not everything; while the E190-E2 is a smaller aircraft than the A320neo, and the A220-300, her smaller size allows her to easily suit smaller market destinations like Koh Samui, thereby reducing the risk of an under-filled aircraft for such destinations. And with her smaller airframe and overall weight, she could easily fly to airports that typically cannot support larger aircraft operations.
While her range is markedly lower than the other competing aircraft in Scoot's fleet, and the A220-300, the E190-E2's range does place her within comfortable distance of many non-metropolitan destinations in Scoot's radar, thereby cementing the option to go for the Embraer instead of the A220-300.
While undoubedly many Airbus fans might be disappointed that the A220-300 might not be heading to Singapore's skies soon, the entry of Embraer into the Singapore aviation industry is definitely a milestone for this Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, and this might open the doors for other Embraer aircraft to enter the commercial aviation market here in Southeast Asia.