Singapore Airlines will begin operating short-haul flights in the next few years with the ditching of its SilkAir regional brand, which will become part of the mainline carrier.
Singapore Airlines, which currently only operates a wide-body fleet, will merge its SilkAir subsidiary into the mainline operation and rebrand as part of a three-year transformation programme.
SilkAir’s aircraft will undergo a $100 million programme to upgrade cabins with lie-flat business class seats and seatback TV screens will be installed throughout the business and economy cabins. SilkAir operates 11 narrow body Airbus A320s and 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It is currently transitioning to an all-737 fleet, and serves 49 destinations in 16 countries.
The airline said the merger would take place “only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products,” adding: “Specific details will be announced progressively as the programme develops and timelines are finalised.”
Singapore Airlines’ chief executive Goh Choon Phong said: “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.”
SilkAir was formed in 1989 as Tradewinds the Airline, a leisure carrier flying to holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. It was rebranded in 1992 and became a full-service regional carrier.