Singapore’s new long-haul budget carrier Scoot has taken off for the first time, using a novel way of saving fuel — by replacing its in-built TVs with iPads.
The airline set off on its maiden voyage to Sydney from the city-state late Monday as part of its parent Singapore Airlines (SIA) bid to tap Asia’s growing demand for no-frills travel while battling surging fuel costs.
Business class passengers were handed iPads pre-loaded with movies, TV shows and games, while those in economy were given the option of paying Sg$22 ($17) to use the tablet computers.
“One of the reasons for using iPads for in-flight entertainment is that they are lighter than the traditional inflight entertainment systems and hence saves on fuel,” a spokesperson told AFP.
Fuel is one of the biggest expenses for the airline industry and carriers including SIA and Dubai’s Emirates have blamed rising oil prices as a major factor for slumping profits.
SIA launched Scoot in November 2011 as a budget alternative to regular airlines offering fares that would be up to 40 percent cheaper.
A day after the maiden flight Scoot said it would expand its network, with two new daily flights to Tokyo and Taipei, which are scheduled to start from the third quarter.
It has a fleet of four Boeing B777-200 aircraft and currently offers flights from Singapore to Australia’s Gold Coast, Sydney, Bangkok and China’s Tianjin city.