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passengerpigeon
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Why did Singapore Airlines use SilkAir for shorthaul routes?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:32 am

Singapore Airlines announced last year that they were rolling the SilkAir brand back into mainline SQ, but none of what I read regarding the merger explained how SilkAir came to be SQ's regional division in the first place. I understand that they were originally a leisure-oriented airline, but what factors led to SQ selling their narrowbodies and using SilkAir for all of those routes instead?
 
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Coal
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Re: Why did Singapore Airlines use SilkAir for shorthaul routes?

Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:04 pm

SQ never really sold their narrowbodies to SilkAir.

SilkAir started out as Tradewinds, a charter airline (I am 99% sure...) and eventually became SilkAir.

SQ uses SilkAir as (1) a way to provide a relatively premium product to very small destinations that might have some premium (incl. J) traffic, e.g. Medan, Surabaya, Yangon, etc. and (2) as a way to provide a relatively premium product to leisure destinations where an SQ bird would be too much (e.g. Vientiane, Lombok, etc.).

SQ does not "use SilkAir for shorthaul routes". SQ flies 773s to CGK, A359s to KUL, etc., both of which are ~1h from SIN. Conversely, MI flies long-ish missions, to China, India, and even Korea. Although Korea (Busan) is a great example of SQ using MI to test / stimulate demand, then taking over with mainline.
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zakuivcustom
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Re: Why did Singapore Airlines use SilkAir for shorthaul routes?

Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:20 pm

Coal wrote:
SQ never really sold their narrowbodies to SilkAir.


Adding on - when Tradewind Airlines become a scheduled carrier in 1989 (Before becoming SilkAir in 1992), the only narrowbodies SQ has was those 4 757 that would be phrased out next year, with those 757 being leased as part of a battle for SQ's regional fleet (Against A310, which would be the backbone of SQ's regional fleet for a decade). The MD-87 follow by 733 that Tradewinds operate way back was leased from elsewhere.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why did Singapore Airlines use SilkAir for shorthaul routes?

Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:33 pm

Indeed SilkAir started as an independent airline that was later acquired by Singapore Airlines. It always had it's own fleet, totally independent from Singapore Airlines.
 
mmo
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Re: Why did Singapore Airlines use SilkAir for shorthaul routes?

Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:08 pm

After working for SQ for about 10 years I can shed some light on the issue. SQ wanted to be in a position where they could claim they were an "all widebody" fleet. Using SilkAir allowed that to happen after all MAS flew both wide and narrow body aircraft so they felt this was an important differentiation. Silkair had their own AOC, however, I would not say they were completely independent of Singapore Airlines. For example, the cadets all came from SQ and they were assigned to Silkair and SQ by SQ. There was the possibility for Silkair Captains to flow back to SQ, although I never really heard of it happening. SQ controlled the schedules of Silkair with the object of feeding the widebody operation.

However, like the spin off the cargo operation, SQC, over time what was once considered a "good" idea lost its charm and became a "bad" idea. All the "spin offs" had duplicate areas of administration which in reality added to the overall cost structure.
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