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Route transfers between Scoot, SilkAir, and Singapore Airlines to affect India

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is re-jigging routes between its low-cost subsidiary Scoot, which took over TigerAir, and its regional subsidiary SilkAir, as the latter mergers into it. A number of destinations in India are affected.

The mergers of various airlines comprising the Singapore Airlines group
The mergers of various airlines comprising the Singapore Airlines group

Between April 2019 and end 2020, Scoot will take over some of SilkAir’s routes over the next two years, and also transfer some routes or services to SilkAir or its parent Singapore Airlines (SIA).

India changes

Coimbatore, Thiruvanthapuram, and Visakhapatnam will be transferred from SilkAir to low-cost Scoot. Scoot will exit Bangalore and Chennai which will be serviced exclusively by SIA. Kochi will be serviced exclusively by SilkAir and after its merger by SIA.

SilkAir merger with Singapore Airlines

The regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, is upgrading its cabins as it mergers with its parent. SilkAir operates an all narrow-body fleet, while Singapore Airlines is exclusively wide-body. The merger will provide fleet flexibility to the island nation’s flag carrier. To ensure a common customer experience across its common brand, the SilkAir fleet is moving to the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and is embarking on a $100 million cabin upgrade programme. The business class will feature full-flat seats and the in-flight entertainment system in both business and economy classes will be upgraded. The long-lead times by seat suppliers is pushing the upgrade beyond 2020 and consequently delaying the merger.

Detailed network-wide changes

Subject to government and regulatory approvals the changes planned are detailed below.

From SilkAir to Scoot:

  • 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 in Thailand, in October 2019
  • Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, in December 2019
  • Balikpapan, Lombok, Makassar, Manado, Semarang and Yogyakarta in Indonesia, between May 2020 and July 2020

From Scoot to SIA (Both are existing SIA destinations):

  • Bengaluru and Chennai in India, in May 2019 and May 2020

From Scoot to SilkAir (Both are existing SilkAir destinations):

  • Shenzhen in China, from June 2019
  • Kochi in India, from October 2019

In addition, SilkAir will be converting its Mandalay route to a seasonal service. Existing services will end in March 2019 and will resume in November 2019, continuing until January 2020. Scoot will meanwhile be suspending services to Honolulu with effect from June 2019 as a result of weak demand.

Dates are indicative as a result of required regulatory approvals. Customers with existing bookings will be provided the option to switch to the new Scoot, SIA or SilkAir flights where possible, or be provided refunds.

“We are now at the half-way mark in our three-year Transformation Programme, and today’s announcement represents another significant development. The route review will strengthen the SIA Group for the long term, with the right vehicles in our portfolio of airlines deployed to the right markets,” said SIA CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.

SIA announced in May that its regional wing SilkAir is to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products ahead of its eventual merger into SIA. The programme will see SilkAir’s cabins fitted with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class.

The investments will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. Low-cost subsidiary Scoot’s fleet will meanwhile be expanded with the transfer of 14 Boeing 737-800s from SilkAir, while SilkAir will continue growing its operations in the years ahead as it takes delivery of new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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