Silkair, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA), is set to become incorporated into its parent company’s brand after it undergoes a significant S$100 million (US$74.4 million) investment that will see it get new lie-flat seats in business class as well as seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in business and economy.
The move is part of efforts to create “closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network”, according to the airline.
The carrier is expected to begin upgrading its cabins in 2020, with the merger between Silkair and Singapore Airlines expected to follow after a “sufficient number of aircraft” have been retrofitted with the new products. Some routes and aircraft are also set to be transferred between the two carriers after the merger.
Few details of the seats have been unveiled other than that it will be a lie-flat offering. Further information will be announced progressively as the programme progresses and schedules are confirmed.
Meanwhile, the airline’s in-flight entertainment offering largely comprises an on-demand service through its Silkair Studios app, which travellers can download onto their own devices in order to access the system. This is now set to change with in-seat screens in both classes.
Singapore Airlines has been on a mission over the past year to upgrade a number of its seat products, including a new fully flat regional business class product on board its Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, as well as brand new first class suites, and business and economy class seats on its Airbus A380 superjumbos.
These recent product introductions have further emphasised the distinct discrepancy between the product offerings available on the flagship carrier and the regional subsidiary.
“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 Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines’ CEO.
“Importantly, it will be positive for 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’s fleet currently comprises the new Boeing 737 Max 8, its older predecessor, the B737-800, and Airbus A320-200 and A319-100 aircraft.
All but the A319 offer 12 seats in business class (the A319 has just eight) laid out in a 2-2 configuration.
The carrier is undergoing a transition to an all-B737 fleet.