Singapore Airlines today announced that it would invest more than 100 million SGD to upgrade SilkAir cabins with lie-flat business class seats and seat-back in-flight entertainment screens.
The airline plans to retire the brand once enough modification is done and fold it to Singapore Airlines that is very good news especially for other Star Alliance frequent flier program members that currently don’t get any benefits or earn miles when flying this regional subsidiary.
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Here’s the announcement from Singapore Airlines:
18 May 2018 – Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, is to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA.
The programme will comprise investment of more than $100 million to upgrade the wholly owned subsidiary’s cabins with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class. This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network.
Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. The merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. Specific details will be announced progressively as the programme develops and timelines are finalised.
Consistent with ongoing efforts to optimise the SIA Group’s network, there will also be transfers of routes and aircraft between the different airlines in the portfolio.
“Singapore Airlines is one year into our three-year Transformation Programme and today’s announcement is a significant development to provide more growth opportunities and prepare the Group for an even stronger future,” said SIA CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.
“Importantly, it will be positive for our customers. It is another example of the major investment we are making to ensure that our products and services continue to lead the industry across short-, medium- and long-haul routes.”
SilkAir is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operating a fleet of 11 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It is currently transitioning to an all-737 fleet, and serves 49 destinations in 16 countries.
It launched in 1989 as Tradewinds the Airline, initially focusing on holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. Renamed SilkAir in 1992, it expanded progressively across Asia in subsequent years as it evolved from a holiday resort airline to a full-fledged, full-service regional carrier.
SilkAir operates some rather long regional flights including some to northern Australia and China where the current business class seat has just not been appropriate considering what the competitors have been offering.
As I pointed above, this is great news for other Star Alliance program members that can collect and burn miles and take advantage of elite benefits on these flights once they have been folded to Singapore Airlines. Currently you get none.
I have flown few flights on SilkAir and credited them to KrisFlyer. The service is fine on short flights.