SilkAir is opening new medium haul routes and upgrading its premium product as it takes delivery of the new generation 737 MAX 8. The Singapore Airlines full service regional subsidiary is one of the first operators of the 737 MAX, with first delivery scheduled for Sep-2017.
The airline is using its initial batch of 737 MAX 8s to launch services to Hiroshima, which will become the airline’s first destination in Japan at the end of Oct-2017. The airline will also use the 737 MAX 8 to serve Cairns, which is the airline’s longest route and is being upgraded to five year-round frequencies as the MAX is introduced. Bangalore and Hyderabad round out the initial batch of routes to be permanently operated with the 737 MAX.
The 737 MAX 8 provides the SIA Group with a new platform to access long thin markets that are too small for SIA widebodies and cannot be economically served with current generation narrowbody aircraft.
As SilkAir pushes into longer routes, it is introducing an improved business class product, a sensible move given the much better premium product offered on similar routes by its parent. However, the product gap between SIA and SilkAir will remain wide – perhaps too wide given the increasing number of longer routes SilkAir will take on as it expands the 737 MAX fleet.
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