More Details About SilkAir’s New 737 MAX Flat Beds

Filed Under: Singapore

In May 2018 we learned that SilkAir will be merging with Singapore Airlines, and that as part of that they would introduce flat beds on SilkAir’s 737s. We now have some more details.

Why Singapore Airlines and SilkAir are merging

SilkAir is Singapore Airlines’ wholly owned regional subsidiary, and operates a fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

SilkAir operates many regional routes that are either high frequency or lower demand, where it wouldn’t make sense to operate a Singapore Airlines plane. That’s because Singapore Airlines’ fleet consists exclusively of widebody aircraft, which can’t operate to many markets.

However, clearly over time Singapore Airlines has learned that there’s value in folding the SilkAir brand into Singapore Airlines. For example, many people avoid SilkAir because they’re not familiar with it. Yet for many destinations it’s only realistic for SilkAir to fly there, given that Singapore Airlines doesn’t have any narrowbody aircraft.

While we don’t yet know exactly when the merger between Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will happen, it’s supposed to be in the next few years.

SilkAir’s 737 MAX aircraft are getting flat beds

In order to bring SilkAir in line with Singapore Airlines, the airline is investing more than $100 million to upgrade SilkAir’s cabins with fully flat seats in business class, as well as seatback entertainment at all seats. Up until now we haven’t had more details, though that has finally changed.

Singapore Airlines has announced today that SilkAir will start upgrading their cabins as of May 2020. All Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft delivered as of then will feature the new seats, and eventually the existing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will also be reconfigured this seats.

It has been announced that Thompson Aero Seating has been selected for providing the new business class seats. They say that the upgrades will include “lie-flat business class seats in a forward-facing staggered layout – in line with SIA’s regional business class offering on its Airbus A350-900 medium-haul and Boeing 787-10 seats.”

As a reminder, here’s what Singapore Airlines’ regional business class looks like:

In reality they won’t install exactly the same seat as on the 787 and A350, since that’s not practical for a narrowbody. Rather, it seems like they’ll select a Thompson Aero Vantage seat.

These are the seats that JetBlue has in their A321 Mint cabins.

And it’s also similar to what FlyDubai has in their 737 MAX 8 cabins, which perhaps gives you the most accurate comparison.

Bottom line

I think the decision to merge SilkAir into Singapore Airlines is a smart one. Singapore Airlines has great brand recognition, and at the same time is limited with where they can fly due to their widebody-only fleet.

With SilkAir getting flat beds in business class, they’ll offer one of the best narrowbody experiences out there. Their selection of Thompson Aero to provide these seats is no surprise, and I’d expect we’ll see staggered seats similar to what we have on JetBlue, FlyDubai, etc.

  1. @JB not sure how many readers would find that review of use. I tend to avoid FlyDubai because of their pilot rosters (they’re way too overstretched for my liking)

  2. thanks for the info. I’ve got a couple of Silk Air flights within Asia coming up, this June – too early for the upgraded seats.

  3. I think Singapore’s 737-MAX cabin layout will be amongst the best. Definitely much better than any U.S. airlines.

  4. Good move by SQ. The lack of comments about this shows the lack of knowledge about SilkAir amongst your readers.

  5. Lucky: So, I’m flying a Silk Air 737 Max 8, Singapore to Cairns (AUS) on August 1st. Any indication as to how this will be rolled out? Crossing my fingers . . .

  6. About time they folded Silkair into SIA. While the service and planes were perfectly fine it was limiting their customer base as Silkair flights don’t credit to Star Alliance partners.

  7. I loathe Silk Air. It is the only option that Singapore Airlines provides while flying to Singapore from India unless you are flying out of Mumbai or Delhi. This is strange because there is great demand for business travellers and these flights are almost always full.
    They market it as a regional airline but they are in reality competing with LCCs at full service fares. The service on Silk Air without fail is terrible and it almost always seems to be staffed with trainees. It makes the second leg of the journey on the full blown Singapore airline even weirder because it’s hard to imagine that the same airline operates the 2 legs!

  8. Is there a reason why you repeat airline names so frequently in your articles (helps with page ranking?).

    You’ve mentioned Silkair and Singapore 30 times in this one article. It’s probably just me but that writing style gets a bit irritating after a while!

  9. Ryan: Only start date is in the article. No hint of schedule and how fast they will roll out the updates to their different routes. They have 5 737 Max aircraft in the current fleet and 32 on order. Not sure whether the flight I take on 1 August will have been updated. That was my point.

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