Singapore Airlines is preparing to send off its first Boeing 737-800 jet to Phuket in March 2021, as the airline takes on the routes and aircraft from its soon-to-be-defunct regional subsidiary, SilkAir.
While the Boeing 737s are the uninspiring workhorse of choice of Qantas and Virgin Australia within Australia, it’s the first single-aisle passenger jet that Singapore Airlines will add to its fleet since the 1980s.
Singapore Airlines’ first Boeing 737-800NG (Next Generation) will feature 12 standard Business Class seats and 150 Economy Class seats, presumably identical to what SilkAir offered onboard previously.
Lie-flat seats are in the horizon
Some of those jets are still stored in Alice Springs, although one has since flown back to Singapore in early 2021 for ‘retrofitting and upgrades’, according to The Straits Times.
Once Singapore Airlines starts taking in SilkAir’s previous 38-strong Boeing 737 MAX order, we could expect a fancier Business Class to make its grand appearance once more.
SilkAir and Singapore Airlines: stronger as one
The merger between SilkAir and its parent company, including routes and aircraft, is expected to be completed in the 2021-22 financial year, according to a Singapore Airlines’ media release.
This would see Singapore Airlines take on a greater range of regional destinations, and also deploy its newly-acquired Boeing 737s on existing routes, such as Brunei.
There’s also a case in a post-COVID world to fly its smaller Boeing 737s to other ‘secondary cities’ within range, such as Perth and Adelaide, depending on how travel demand returns in 2021 and onwards.
However, doing so would represent a major drop in comfort for Business Class guests (and those flying Economy, to a lesser extent), who were previously enjoying the comforts of Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10.