Spiffy: Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800!

Filed Under: Singapore

With the SilkAir brand being absorbed by Singapore Airlines, it looks like the first 737-800 is emerging in Singapore Airlines’ livery. First a bit of background…

The Singapore Airlines & SilkAir merger

In mid-2018 it was announced that Singapore Airlines and SilkAir would be merging. For context, SilkAir is Singapore Airlines’ wholly-owned subsidiary. While Singapore Airlines exclusively flies wide-body aircraft, SilkAir exclusively flies narrow-body aircraft.

When the plan was first announced:

  • Over the next few years, the SilkAir brand would be completely folded into the Singapore Airlines brand
  • Singapore Airlines would invest more than $100 million to upgrade SilkAir’s cabins with lie-flat business class seats, as well as seatback entertainment in both cabins
  • The intent was to create a consistent flying experience across wide body and narrow body aircraft

FlyDubai 737 business class, similar to what was expected for Singapore Airlines

Obviously a lot has happened since that announcement was made, including:

  • The 737 MAX became grounded, and the airline had a total of 37 of those on order
  • The coronavirus pandemic has caused airlines to cut non-essential spending

SilkAir Boeing 737-800

First Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800

Pictures are emerging of the very first SilkAir Boeing 737-800 to get the Singapore Airlines livery, and boy is it nice-looking! The first 737-800 to get the livery has the registration code 9V-MGA, and it’s a six year old aircraft. The plane has been grounded for over five months, as it operated its last flight on March 20.

Interestingly this isn’t the first 737 to sport the Singapore Airlines livery in recent years. Late last year a Boeing 737 MAX 8 emerged in the Singapore Airlines livery. Of  course that plane has been grounded, as is the case with all Boeing 737 MAXs.

The plan is now for SilkAir’s entire Boeing 737-800 fleet to be repainted in the new livery by March 2021, though I imagine that remains subject to change.

For that matter, it’s probably worth noting that this isn’t the first time that Singapore Airlines is operating the 737. Back in the 1970s, Singapore Airlines operated 737-100s and 737-300s.

It’s pretty incredible how little Singapore Airlines’ livery has changed in nearly 50 years, eh?

Are Singapore Airlines 737s getting flat beds?

Currently SilkAir’s 737s have recliner seats in business class, similar to what you’d find in domestic first class within the US.

SilkAir 737 business class

The plan has been for SilkAir’s 737s to get fully flat beds as they join Singapore Airlines’ fleet, so what’s the latest on that? While Singapore Airlines is moving forward with repainting SilkAir 737s, the airline isn’t significantly adjusting interiors at this very moment, so don’t expect fully flat beds on 737-800s for now.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The airline has to pay for interiors anyway there since the planes are new, so we’ll see if the airline chooses fully flat beds and personal televisions, or simply maintains the same interiors. Obviously the pandemic has caused airlines to think twice about every dollar they spend.

Bottom line

The first Boeing 737-800 has joined Singapore Airlines’ fleet. The plan is for the remaining 737-800s to be repainted and join Singapore Airlines’ fleet by the end of the first quarter of next year, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see that slip a bit.

For all practical purposes, many aspects of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operations have already been combined, so there aren’t too many implications in terms of the passenger experience for now. That’s especially true when you consider that flatbeds and personal televisions won’t be retrofitted on these planes anytime soon.

What do you make of the Singapore Airlines livery on the 737?

  1. Love the enthusiasm, Ben. To me, this is just a regular plain ol’ 737. You somehow make that exciting – why we all come back (on a daily basis…).

  2. Well the integration started from last year
    I took silk air to penang December 2019 and the boarding pass was Singapore Airlines already, just livery left behind for now

  3. I was never a fan of Silk Air’s livery (the bird/seagull looks like an ‘f’ from a distance) so this is an improvement IMO!

  4. “Currently SilkAir’s 737s have recliner seats in business class, similar to what you’d find in domestic first class within the US.”

    Show me one US airline with good leg support and foot rests in F class and as clean as SQ.
    It will be even better once they upgrade the business offering to SQ levels, but please do not confuse it for Domestic F class

  5. Any idea where they’re flying these? I have a few regional flights booked with Singapore in J on the 787-10 and would dread getting switched to this.

  6. @Xumeimei Missing Penang, so much good food to be had there. Will most likely be the first place where we go once travel without quarantine becomes a thing again. Most likely with Starlux though, if they’re still around by then…

  7. Looks great but how do we get Singapore Airlines to fly domestic U.S. routes? We would all appreciate their much higher service standards.

  8. I flew SilkAir last year and while the service was good, it was not on par with SQ. Crew were just not as buttoned up and a bit sloppy. I wonder if there will be soft goods rebranding and retraining? And uniforms?

  9. RF,
    I think delta F is very comparable to SQ and I grew up in Singapore. If you know singaporean is proud of SQ and changi. I am too, but to paint DL F service to be levels below SQ is an exaggeration… AA perhaps but not DL imo.

  10. @Abidjan AA couldn’t have. The unpainted chrome livery is impossible on the 787 because of the composite construction. Also, Airbus planes (A320 family, the inherited A330’s and the now cancelled A350 orders) would have ugly grey sections on them because they have composite parts on their skins. When AA had the A300 this was an issue, and some were just painted grey as a result.

  11. “Show me one US airline with good leg support and foot rests in F class and as clean as SQ.
    It will be even better once they upgrade the business offering to SQ levels, but please do not confuse it for Domestic F class”

    I disagree. I flew a Silk Air plane from SIN to MLE in 2018 and it was dumpy. I was shocked as I literally had just came off of a 777-300 in F, so it was a huge contrast.

  12. The 737 looks good in the new livery, but I’m kinda partial to the old one, which was simpler. I’ve never cared for the current orange stripe at the rear of the tail, or along the cheatline.

    What I’ve always wanted to see with Singapore Airline’s livery, is that cheatline brought all the way forward to the nose; not chopped-off at the boarding door. It would visually lengthen the aircraft, and longer is sleeker-looking.

  13. Actually SQ only operated 737-100s (the smallest version of the 737) in the 1970s till 1980, although they did operate a 737-300 full cargo plane in the 1990s. The plan unless changed is for all the -8 Max planes to have full flat seats – for the -800s, the plan was to originally transfer these to sister airline SCOOT, before the Max groundings when this was abandoned and SCOOT ordered A321s.

  14. @Super VC10 I agree. There’s always something about SQ livery that I find outdated and uninspired. I love the emblem but the cheatlines are a bit tired. BTW, I’ve had poor service on SQ flight before so it’s not always the best but typically superior to all US carriers…Even DL.

  15. The Singapore-SilkAir partnership sounds so similar to Emirates-FlyDubai partnership. The only difference is that Silk Air is now absorbed by SQ, while FZ exists as a completely different airline but under the same Emirate of Dubai government.

  16. It’s a marketing exercise to fill SQ planes and offer more connections. 737 also makes it easier to offer flights to places like HK and TW when there is low demand (like now), since the 737 has the range to fly those places.

    It also helps with capacity discipline, as there are oftentimes half-empty wide bodies on high frequency flights like Hong Kong-Singapore!

  17. It’s like back in the old times when Singapore Airlines operated the 737 but now, it’s making a comeback

  18. In a press conference in Japan, Singapore Airlines said they’ll be adopting a policy of miniturization, and in doing so, will offer more destinations than they previously could. But really, it’s all about protecting or preserving market share because Qantas may be sitting still in Australia, it has cities outside of Australia that they can play with. And Qantas wants to take exploit Singapore Airlines when it’s down, to launch flights ex SIN. Already, the Chinese carriers are taking full advantage.

    Air China’s gone all widebody daily from Chengdu, Hangzhou
    China Eastern’s also gone widebody, on Kunming, Shanghai
    Juneyao Air is going daily 787 soon from Shanghai.

    This is what I think SQ will do…

    SQ 737s takeover Scoot services to East Asia;
    new fifth freedoms via Chongqing, Nanjing, Shenzhen to Japan’s major cities,
    nonstops connect SIN – Japan cities like Naha, Kagoshima, Hiroshima, Okayama, Miyazaki
    position aircraft to support failing Star members via ICN and BKK
    Theme Park Express:
    Disney Airline SIN to HKG, PVG, TYO;
    Universal Airline SIN to PEK, KIX

    Besides CDG and LHR, I think they might regroup, to focus on CPH, OSL, ARN, HEL, canning other destinations to allow LH OS SN TP TK LO, VS and maybe AF KL AZ, to operate own metal to SIN. SAS is probably the weakest and may run out of money.

    I think… SQ should not fly US nonstop at all. I suspect if UA actually tried, LAX-SIN will be theirs. Instead, SQ and UA should JV… SIN HKG to SFO, LAX; SIN ICN LAX, SFO; SIN TPE LAX SFO; SIN NRT JFK MIA etc with SQ taking over OZ, HX, BR transpacific flights

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