Here’s an exciting milestone — Singapore Airlines and SilkAir are finally integrating, meaning that Singapore Airlines will start flying narrow body aircraft.
Singapore Airlines & SilkAir merge, at last
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 merger plan was first announced:
- Over time 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 flat bed 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
SilkAir Boeing 737-800
While SilkAir had lower labor costs than Singapore Airlines, presumably the airline group decided that those savings didn’t outweigh the inefficiency of otherwise running two separate airlines in terms of scheduling, marketing, customer experience, etc.
Well, it has now officially been announced that the two airlines have merged, so from now on SilkAir will be branded as Singapore Airlines, and we’ll slowly see planes transferred to Singapore Airlines’ fleet.
For over 30 years, SilkAir has made every journey a joy to fly.
As SilkAir continues its journey as Singapore Airlines, you can be assured of world-class service no matter how short your journey. pic.twitter.com/czayplQZqN
— Singapore Airlines (@SingaporeAir) January 28, 2021
Singapore Airlines will start flying 737s
SilkAir is in the process of transferring nine 737-800s to Singapore Airlines. With this, Singapore Airlines will be taking over some SilkAir routes, and former SilkAir planes will also start flying some former Singapore Airlines routes:
- As of March 4, 2021, Singapore Airlines 737-800s will operate the Singapore to Phuket service; this was previously a SilkAir route, operated by the same plane type
- As of some point in March 2021, Singapore Airlines 737-800s will operate the Singapore to Brunei service; this was previously a Singapore Airlines route, operated by a much bigger plane
- The full integration of the two airlines is scheduled for completion in the 2021/2022 financial year
With 737s joining Singapore Airlines’ fleet, the airline is promising great consistency in product and service.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800 cabin layout
Singapore Airlines’ 737-800s will feature a total of 162 seats, including 12 business class seats and 150 economy seats. Unfortunately due to the pandemic and the grounding of the 737 MAX, Singapore Airlines’ 737s won’t be as good as initially planned, at least for now:
- Singapore Airlines’ 737s won’t feature personal entertainment at every seat
- Singapore Airlines’ 737s won’t feature flat beds in business class
Future plane deliveries should feature updated products, and maybe existing planes will be reconfigured in the future. However, for now you’ll want to temper your expectations in terms of the hard product.
FlyDubai 737 business class, similar to what was expected for Singapore Airlines
While Singapore Airlines’ initial 737s aren’t very impressive as such (due to lack of TVs and flat beds), this integration is great for consumers. Service will be more consistent, Star Alliance benefits will apply across SilkAir flights, and in general there will be less confusion.
As an avgeek there’s something strange and cool about seeing a 737 in the Singapore Airlines livery, since it’s a plane the airline hasn’t operated in a very long time. I can’t wait until these planes get personal televisions and flat beds in business class.
What do you make of Singapore Airlines operating 737s?