Asian carrier SilkAir, the regional division of Singapore Airlines, is to introduce two new destinations to its network from late May 2014 as it modifies its existing activities in Myanmar and the Philippines to support its network expansion. Subject to applicable approvals, it will introduce a three times weekly service to Kalibo in the Philippines through circular-routing flights with Cebu from May 27, 2014, and a three times weekly link to Mandalay in Myanmar as an addition to its existing Yangon route from June 10, 2014.
Kalibo will be SilkAir’s third destination in the Philippines after Cebu and Davao while Mandalay will be the airline’s second destination in Myanmar after Yangon. The new services will be operated with Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, featuring both Business and Economy Class cabins and will connect at Singapore’s Changi International Airport to more than 90 cities in the joint Singapore Airlines – SilkAir network. SilkAir configures its A319s with eight seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy and its A320s with 12 Business Class and 138 Economy seats.
“As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir plays a role to extend the Singapore Airlines Group network by seeding and developing emerging destinations. We are excited to be adding both Kalibo and Mandalay to our network and are confident that they will be well received,” said Leslie Thng, chief executive officer, SilkAir.
SilkAir has been serving the Filipino market for over ten years and will be the only carrier to offer direct flights between Singapore and Kalibo, an estimated bi-directional O&D market of around 7,000 annual passengers, based upon 2012 MIDT data. The destination is the capital of Aklan province and gateway to the idyllic Boracay island, which is located off the northwestern tip of Panay and which is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
Myanmar has been another long-term market for the Singaporean carrier. It already serves Yangon, the largest city in the country - once serving as its capital it is today Myanmar’s economic centre, in addition to being a popular tourist destination. SilkAir had operated up to 16 weekly flights from its Changi International Airport base but since October 2012 Singapore Airlines has offered its own service on the route using widebody equipment.
The second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay is the centre of culture and religion in the country. The city is home to the magnificent royal palace as well as many other attractions built during the Konbuang Dynasty. SilkAir will again be the only carrier to provide direct services to the destination from Singapore Changi.
The two new services will be introduced during the Northern Summer operating season, between March 30, 2014 and October 25, 2014. SilkAir is also making network adjustments during this season, comprising capacity increases on several routes and reductions on others. In Thailand, SilkAir will operate 35 times weekly to Phuket, up from the current 30 times weekly; in Australia, services to Darwin will be increased to five times weekly, a rise from the current four times weekly; while in Indonesia, services to Palembang will be increased to five times weekly and subject to slots approval and services to Balikpapan will also increase from the current six times a week to daily flights.
Alongside this growth there will be reductions in flights to a number of markets. SilkAir will cut flights between Singapore and Medan from 21 times a week to 19 times weekly, while services from the Asian hub to and from Hyderabad, Kochi, Pekanbaru and Visakhapatnam will all be cut by one weekly frequency during the summer period.