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Singapore Airlines has today confirmed that SilkAir, its regional carrier, will be upgrading the Business Class cabin on its 737 aircraft with true lie-flat seats from Thompson Aero.
From May 2020 Singapore Airlines will be fitting the Thompson Aero Vantage seats to its 737 MAX 8 aircraft as well as to its 737-800 fleet.
Tf the Thompson Aero Vantage seat sounds familiar it may be because this is the Business Class seat that Aer Lingus has announced for its A321LR aircraft and that TAP Air Portugal will installing in its A321LR aircraft too (both coming this year).
Or it may be because it’s the seat that’s already installed in the Aer Lingus 757 fleets and is the seat upon which JetBlue’s highly acclaimed Mint Business Class cabin is based.
SilkAir currently has five Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet and has another 32 on order – new deliveries will come fitted with the Thompson Aero Vantage seats while the existing aircraft in the fleet will be retrofitted with the upgraded seats.
SilkAir took delivery of its first 737 MAX 8 back in October 2017 and, at the time, the Business Class cabin the aircraft had installed looked pretty good….
….and it still does considering this is a regional carrier that we’re talking about.
Still, SilkAir is in the process of being rolled into Singapore Airlines and the larger carrier considers it important to offer as much product alignment as possible across all the aircraft that fly under its colors….and that’s why the SilkAir aircraft are getting the makeover.
The whole upgrade is estimated to cost in excess of $70m and, along with the new Business Class seats, the refitted aircraft will also be receiving new seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business and Economy Class.
Singapore Airlines is yet to announce the supplier for the new IFE systems but this is a notable upgrade as the current MAX 8 Economy class cabin doesn’t offer screens – just tablet holders and USB ports.
SilkAir has a pretty substantial route map and, while some destinations are on Singapore’s doorstep, some, like Chengdu, can be over 5 hours flying time away – having a lie-flat seat on a flight of that length will be a very nice bonus for frequent SilkAir flyers.
The existing Business Class seats on the 787 MAX 8 were already better than the premium cabin seats we see on most regional routes within the US or Europe and now they’re getting better.
SilkAir already offer up to 13″ of more seat pitch in Business Class on its MAX 8s that is found in some of the First Class cabins on US domestic routes and there’s no reason to suspect that the new seats will offer any less space – the new Business Class cabin on the SilkAir 737 MAX 8 (and refitted 737-800s) should be a very nice place to pass a flight.