Remind Me What’s Happening: SilkAir’s Singapore Airlines Merger

It was back in March 2018 that Singapore Airlines announced that its regional subsidiary, SilkAir would begin a merger into its parent airline. Later that year, Singapore Airline’s low-cost wing, Scoot, began to take over SilkAir routes and the integration has continued steadily. So where do things stand now? Let’s find out.

SilkAir has its Boeing 737MAX jets stored in the Australian desert. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Further route integration

In November 2018 it was announced that Singapore Airline’s low-cost subsidiary Scoot would begin taking over SilkAir services. The changes would take place between April 2019 and the second half of 2020.

Flights that were switched from SilkAir to Scoot:

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  • Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos, in April 2019
  • Coimbatore, Trivandrum and Visakhapatnam in India, between May 2019 and October 2019
  • Changsha, Fuzhou, Kunming and Wuhan in China, between May 2019 and June 2019
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand, in October 2019
  • Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, in December 2019

Kolkata: Yesterday, Singapore Airlines put out a press release announcing that it will introduce a fifth weekly flight to Kolkata, India, beginning 29 March 2020. This date in March coincides with SilkAir ceasing services to the city. Currently, Singapore Airlines operates four weekly flights and SilkAir operates three weekly flights to Kolkata.

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Singapore A350-900
Singapore Airlines will replace SilkAir’s Kolkata service with an additional A350 service of its own. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Despite Singapore Airline’s larger Airbus A350-900 flying the additional service, this would appear to be an overall capacity decrease if SilkAir’s Boeing 737-800 will stop its three weekly flights. The airline states that customers with existing bookings on SilkAir’s Kolkata flights on and after 29 March 2020 will be re-accommodated on SIA’s flights.

Busan: At the end of October 2019, Singapore Airlines took over SilkAir’s service to Busan. In fact, the transfer resulted in an overall boost in seat capacity on the route by 76%. Singapore Airlines maintained SilkAir’s frequency, but with its larger A330-300 jets – allowing for an additional 123 passengers over SilkAir’s 737s.

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“Demand for SilkAir’s Busan flights since the launch of the route on 1 May 2019 has been very encouraging, and it has proven to be another popular gateway into South Korea, complementing SIA’s services to Seoul.” -Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Mr Tan Kai Ping.

SilkAir operates a mixed narrowbody fleet of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s. Photo: Robert Young via Wikimedia Commons

More integration coming

The news of flight integration with Scoot and Singapore Airlines also shows that SilkAir will continue operating some services, indicating that the name and brand will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

In fact, SilkAir will continue to operate Singapore services to the Indian cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi. We also know that SilkAir will continue service to the cities of Balikpapan, Lombok, Makassar, Manado, Semarang and Yogyakarta in Indonesia – at least until they are transferred to Scoot sometime between May 2020 and July 2020.

 

SilkAir has been in existence for over 30 years now. Photo: Kentaro Iemoto via Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

This has been a long and slow integration process. The official SilkAir brand seems to have vanished from the internet as its website now redirects to Singapore Airline’s site. ch-Aviation reports that SilkAir is due to complete its merger sometime in the 2020s as part of the group’s realignment strategy.

When SilkAir completely vanishes, we will only see full-service Singapore Airlines and low-cost Scoot remaining. In the meantime, the group aims to have new business class cabins installed on all SilkAir’s narrowbody jets to ensure homogeneity of service.

Are you in favor of this merger? Or do you think SilkAir offered something unique to the region it served? Let us know in the comments!

We reached out to Singapore Airlines for comment but have yet to receive a response.

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Michael

Quick question, if silk air was to continue operating flights to kochi will that mean soon that will be phased out (operated by) Singapore Airlines in the near future?

Gary

Silk Airs Singapore-Danang route is outragously expensive compared to other options..

jeremy h barnes

In my opinion this was the worst transition I have ever seen- this was announced in Oct 2018 and although the slots have now been approved tickets are still not on sale for Manado- see below- Dear Partners, I have a request that will help us all, Safari Tours, your resort partners in North Sulawesi (and beyond) and your clients as well. As you are aware, SilkAir announced in October of 2018 that they would be absorbed by Singapore Airlines and that certain routes would be taken over by Singapore Airlines and others by Scoot. It was determined that Manado… Read more »

jeremy h barnes

The transition from SikAir to Scoot was announced in Oct 2018- (in Manado the last silkair flight is May 4th 2020 yet beginning in May of 2019 one could not book any tickets for the 2020 high season June to Sept. 2020. As Manado is a leisure destination and people book 6, 9, and even 1 year in advance this poorly managed transition or handover is was poorly orchestrated. Just 3 weeks ago (mid December) it was discovered in Manado that the slots have been assigned and that SCOOT will take over the schedule and times of SilkAir. But until… Read more »

Danny Charlton

Complete debacle describes how SQ is handling this “transition”. At this time, we can not purchase ticks Sin to Manado after 4 May. Ridiculous how they can get this organised.

Tina

The transition from Silk to Scoot has been a terrible for the Manado area. Flights for the coming high season can not be booked which means people are choosing to go else where. I know of people waiting to book. With Silk Air flights finishing in May and no Scoot flight available, tourism for the whole area is being hit very hard. Let’s hope we can see some progress soon.

Pim van Schendel

The transition from SilkAir to Scoot on the Singapore-Manado route has been a complete disaster and a huge problem. Not only for the hotels and resorts but also for the families that make a living in the tourism industry in Manado. People are loosing their jobs and resorts are struggling. It’s virtually impossible to get to Manado in a timely manner and bookings have gone down for 2020. No flights available from Singapore to Manado after May 4th 2020.

jeremy h barnes

Lets hope that they will get the flights uploaded by early March as Sil promised for Scoot!!