SilkAir will merge with parent company Singapore Airlines as part of a plan to restructure the group’s business and optimize its network. The merger, scheduled for completion by end 2021 or early 2022, will see the creation of one company whose aircraft will all carry the SIA livery.
SilkAir currently operates a fleet of 17 Boeing 737-800s and 11 Airbus A320s.
According to SIA’s Malaysia market development manager, Olivia Chan, the company will retrofit several of the 737-800s with lie-flat beds in business class and seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both cabins.
Expected to commence soon, the upgrade will see SIA investing more than $100 million.
SilkAir has taken delivery of six 737 Max-8 jetliners of the 31 ordered in 2017.
The Max 8s remain in storage in the desert in Alice Springs, Australia under the global grounding ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after two deadly crashes involving a Lion Air Max 8 and an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft.
Chan said SIA plans to upgrade several Max 8s when the aircraft gains clearance to fly again. She couldn’t say how many 737-800s and Max 8s will get upgrades.
Plans call for the regional operation to phase out the 11 A320s and operate an all-737 fleet.
Despite the grounding of the Max 8, SIA’s order for the 31 jetliners remains firm.
Chan said SilkAir’s integration into SIA remains on track as part of the ongoing plans to optimize SIA’s Group’s network.
“The merger will see the transfer of routes and aircraft involving SilkAir, SIA, and wholly-owned budget carrier, Scoot,” Chan noted.
Scoot will also take over some of SilkAir routes.
‘SilkAir employees will progressively move to SIA to support the enlarged regional operation but the planned integration for crew is still being reviewed,” Chan said.
Silk currently flies to 38 destinations.