Singapore Airlines has announced some major changes to its regional SilkAir operation. Ultimately, this will see the Silkair operation merged into the Singapore Airlines operation, and the Silkair branding being removed.
To get there, SilkAir will first see a significant investment in its cabin products. The upgrades are set to bring a greater level of consistency with the Singapore Airlines product. Once a sufficient number of aircraft have been upgraded, the Silkair name will be removed, with the two airlines merging into a single airline.
SilkAir is the regional airline of Singapore Airlines, and basically runs the narrow body fleet of the two airlines. At present, it operates a fleet of 11 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This is currently moving to an an all-737 fleet. As an airline, Silkair serves 49 destinations in 16 countries.
The first step of the changes is a $100 million investment in upgrading its in flight experience. Passengers throughout the aircraft can look forward to the installation of seat back in flight entertainment. Business Class is set for a significant upgrade, with Singapore Airlines promising to install lie-flat seats.
The aim of the upgrade is to bring a greater level of consistency with the Singapore Airlines product.
Of course, nothing happens quickly when you are upgrading the seating in an aircraft cabin. Singapore Airlines are currently expecting the upgrade to commence sometime in 2020. This reflected the lead time required by the manufacturers of the seat. Further updates are on the details are to be announced as they are finalised.
It is likely that we will see more changes to the Singapore Airlines network as this develops. Route transfers have been flagged, where smaller capacity aircraft might be more suitable for a given route.
This announcement could bring about some interesting changes for Star Alliance members of other airlines. At present, Silkair is not in Star Alliance, as it is technically a separate airline to its parent. Following the merger of the brands, there may be more more opportunities and destinations for these Star Alliance members.