Goodbye SilkAir: The regional carrier will merge with Singapore Airlines in a major cabin product upgrade
An era has definitely come to an end — it's time to say goodbye to Singapore’s very own regional fleet as it returns home to become one with its parent company. Starting off with aircraft cabin upgrades, SilkAir will be undergoing an investment programme worth more than $100 million that will ultimately see it merge into Singapore Airlines (SIA).
Despite the on-going demand for “SilkAir-type services”, the intensifying competition in the short-haul regional market was sufficient to kick SIA into a different strategic direction. Instead of competing head-on with budget carriers which account for more than half of the total travel capacity within Southeast Asia, SIA is taking on a new focus — ensuring closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. This entails upgrading SilkAir's cabins with sleek lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class, which we never saw before. There will also be transfers of routes and aircraft between the different airlines in the portfolio.
The aircraft upgrades are expected to start only in 2020, with the merger taking place only after a sufficient number of aircrafts have been fitted with the new cabin products. Mr Goh Choon Phong, SIA's CEO, believes that such a move will only benefit 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.”
Diversification tried and tested, specialisation is perhaps where SIA is finding its strengths. If you're a loyal fan of SilkAir's compact-sized planes, it's time to book in before it makes its swansong.