Silkair's Boeing 737 fleet will undergo a major cabin overhaul pending the unit's merger with the main Singapore Airlines brand.
The full merger will take place after 2020, which gives the SIA Group time to upgrade the cabins aboard the regional carrier's narrowbody fleet, says SIA.
"The programme will comprise investment of more than S$100 million [$74 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," says SIA.
"This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network."
The move reflects an effort by the Star Alliance carrier to streamline its brand portfolio, following the merger of the Tigerair low-cost brand into Scoot in late 2016.
Cabin upgrades to Silkair's fleet will commence in 2020. This reflects lead times required by seat suppliers and the certification process. The merger will be concluded after modifications to a "sufficient number" of Silkair jets have the new cabin product.
In addition, there will be transfers of routes among SIA Group carriers, which comprise the parent airline, Silkair, and low-cost unit Scoot.
“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,” says SIA chief executive 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.”
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Silkair operates 34 aircraft. These comprise five Boeing 737 Max 8s, 17 737-800s, three Airbus A319s, and nine A320s. The A320 family aircraft are being phased out in favour of the 737s, of which Silkair has orders for 32 Max 8s.
Both the Max 8s and -800s have 12 business class seats, while the Max 8s have 144 econonomy class seats and the -800s 150 economy class seats.
Silkair was launched in 1989 under the Tradewinds brand serving regional holiday destinations. It was renamed Silkair in 1992, and now serves 49 cities in 16 countries.