Singapore Airlines has released the first official photos of its Boeing 737-800 in full SIA livery. The aircraft is one of 11 coming to the carrier from its merger with SilkAir and will be joined in due course by a number of 737 MAX 8s. Singapore Airlines plans to put these aircraft into service in the early part of 2021.
All dressed up and ready to go
With the SilkAir merger into Singapore Airlines in full swing, the carrier has shared some stunning images of one of its first Boeing 737s in full Singapore clothes. The carrier is taking a total of 11 737-800, that were previously with SilkAir registered 9V-MGA through to K. These aircraft are all between five and six years old, but are getting a full makeover from their new owner.
Singapore Airlines has revealed 9V-MGK in its completed SIA livery. We have to say, we think it looks rather cut in its new coat of paint. But that’s not all that will be changed on the Boeing 737-800s.
The carrier is also completely renewing the aircraft’s interior to bring it in line with the standard of the rest of the fleet. The airline had planned to spend a cool $100 million to upgrade the interiors with lie flat seats, and to install seatback entertainment in both business and economy cabins.
The SilkAir business class had recliner seats in business, something more akin to a premium economy product on an international flight. At the present time, Singapore Airlines hasn’t confirmed if the interiors have been completed yet. With planned entry into service in the next couple of months, it may be that at least some will initially fly with the old SilkAir interior.
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Entering service within weeks
Everything is pointing to good progress being made with the merger. CEO Goh Choon Phong commented during the airline’s recent earnings call, saying,
“We can begin to expect SIA to operate its first narrowbody plane sometime by the first quarter of next year . This will give us the flexibility of deploying widebody or narrowbody operations on routes, depending on the demand.”
It’s almost a happy accident that SIA has wound up with smaller planes in the current environment, and will likely be a welcome addition as the airline strives to meet capacity constraints over the coming weeks. As a spokesperson told Simple Flying today,
As stated in our Q1 FY20/21 Business Update, the full integration of SilkAir into SIA remains on track. The commercial integration of SilkAir into SIA is complete and the transition of SilkAir’s narrow body aircraft operations to SIA will begin with the Boeing 737-800 in Q4 FY20/21. The full integration of SilkAir into SIA will enable greater economies of scale for the SIA Group, allowing it to deploy the right aircraft to meet the demand for air travel as it returns.
Not the very first 737 for Singapore Airlines
While it’s unusual for a big international airline like Singapore to be operating narrowbody aircraft, it’s not the first foray ever into the 737 market. Back in the 1970s, five 737s joined the SIA family, all of the 737-100 variety.
The airline flew them for around eight years, when they all left to join now-defunct Air Florida. All went on to fly for other airlines, with America West and Ansett New Zealand taking one through the ‘80s. Copa Airlines wrote one off overshooting a runway in Panama City, and one went on to be converted into VIP transport for the Mexican Air Force.
Nevertheless, it’s been more than 40 years since Singapore Airlines operated a 737, so it’s exciting times for the airline. As well as the 11 737NG that are coming from SilkAir, the airline will also absorb Silk’s outstanding order for the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The carrier had six in its fleet and 31 more on order when the type was grounded.
The first MAX for Singapore Airlines has already been spotted in full SIA livery. Whether it will take the full contingent from Boeing remains to be seen; there is likely an opportunity to get out of the contract, if that’s the direction SIA decides to go.
Are you excited to see SIA flying 737s again? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.