SilkAir expected to merge with SIA in 2020 following a S$100 million cabin product makeover

The upgrades to SilkAir’s cabins would ensure closer product and service quality across the SIA Group’s full-service network.

Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) full service regional wing, SilkAir, will receive major upgrades to its cabin products as part of a multi-year investment programme that will ultimately lead to the airlines’ merger with SIA.

An SIA statement on Friday (May 18) said the programme will involve investments of over S$100 million ($74 million) to upgrade SilkAir’s cabins with additional features.

Specifically, the cabins will be refurbished with lie-back seats in business class as well as seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both business and economy class.

The move would ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network, said the airline.

The announcement followed the release of SIA’s financial report the day before which revealed a near 150% jump in the airline’s full-year net profit for the 2017/2018 financial year, amounting to S$893 million.

SIA’s operating profit also passed the S$1 billion mark – S$434 million more than the previous financial year – which the airline attributed to improved performance in the passenger and cargo business segments.

The aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to begin in 2020 to provide seat suppliers with lead times and allow completion of certification processes.

Furthermore, the merger will only take effect once a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products.

SIA noted that in conjunction with ongoing efforts to optimise the SIA Group’s network, there will be transfers of routes and aircraft between the different airlines in the portfolio.

SIA’s CEO, Mr 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 and even stronger future.”

“Importantly, it will be positive for our customers. It is another example of the major investment we are making to ensure our products and service continue to lead the industry across short-, medium- and long-haul routes.”

SilkAir currently operates a fleet of 11 Airbus A320-family aircraft as well as 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

It is in the process of transitioning to an all-737 fleet, and serves 49 destinations in 16 countries.