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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has revealed the first Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 of its partner carrier, SilkAir, will provisionally enter passenger operation on February 20, 2014 between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The information was detailed following the latest update of the carrier’s GDS flight inventory which shows the 737-800s operating to six international markets during the first quarter of 2014.
SilkAir, the regional wing of SIA, is currently an exclusive Airbus operator but it agreed terms with Boeing in August last year to rollover and expand its existing fleet with up to 68 new aircraft from the US manufacturer, including its new MAX version of the 737. The deal, formalised in November 2012 included firm orders for 54 aircraft (23 737-800s and 31 737 MAX 8s) and purchase rights for an additional 14, with flexibility to switch to other variants within the B737 product range.
SilkAir will end this year with 24 Airbus A320 Family aircraft – a mix of A319s and A320s – so the Boeing deal not only allows it to renew its fleet but provides scope for future network growth. At the time of the commitment Boeing confirmed that deliveries were due to begin in 2014 and continue to 2021 and it appears that the first aircraft will arrive at Singaporean carrier as early as late January or early February next year.
According to SIA’s GDS listing the SilkAir 737-800s will debut on the Singapore – Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – Penang routes from February 20, 2014 as well as the Singapore – Phuket link from February 21, 2014. As additional aircraft arrive the type will subsequently debut on the Singapore – Siem Reap – Da Nang and Singapore – Da Nang – Siem Reap routes from March 17, 2014 and March 18, 2014, respectively and then on Singapore – Kochi from March 20, 2014.