Singapore Airlines welcomes return of the Boeing 737 MAX

The Boeing 737 MAX jets first flown by SilkAir will return as part of the Singapore Airlines fleet.

By David Flynn, September 6 2021
Singapore Airlines welcomes return of the Boeing 737 MAX

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX jets are primed for a return to the skies following a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to lift restrictions which have kept the troubled jet grounded for more than two years.

While there's no timeline for when the Singaporean flag-carrier will put the 737 MAX back onto its schedule, the airline said it welcomed the CAAS' confidence in the jet and "will continue to work closely with CAAS and the relevant regulators in the coming weeks, to fulfil all of the requirements for the return of service of our 737-8 aircraft."

The group's regional SilkAir arm had taken delivery of six 737 MAX 8 jets at the time of the worldwide grounding in March 2019 in the wake of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.

Those jets were initially parked in Alice Springs, alongside hundreds of other aircraft, where the arid conditions and specialised care of the dedicated Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility keep them in hibernation.

They've since come back to Singapore and will be redressed in the familiar livery of Singapore Airlines, which has taken over from SilkAir and has already begun flying a number of standard Boeing 737-800 jets on Asian routes.

The Boeing 737 is now part of Singapore Airlines' fleet.
The Boeing 737 is now part of Singapore Airlines' fleet.

These Boeing 737s sport a refreshed business class cabin of 12 recliner seats dressed with on-brand SQ touches.

ET reviews: SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX business class and Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class

Singapore Airlines has 31 more Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets on firm order, and the arrival of those could also mark the debut of the promised lie-flat business class beds based on Thompson Aero's Vantage platform (shown below in a stylised version from Boeing's 737 MAX promotional material).

While the Vantage lacks direct aisle access for every passenger, it offer a handful of 'throne' seats for solo flyers – these could potentially be sold at a premium or restricted for advance seat selection to the airline's elite PPS Club members.

With seatback video screens fitted in both business class and economy class, the move is being touted as delivering a consistent premium experience across both international and regional Singapore Airlines flights.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong has previously said the adoption of the Boeing 737s "will bring about a more comfortable and seamless travel experience for customers on our regional routes," while the integration of SilkAir "also allows us to be nimble and flexible in aircraft deployment, and supports our fleet and network growth strategy."

However, with most of Asia still subject to travel restrictions, the rollout of Singapore Airlines' 737 MAX 8 will depend on a range of factors including demand, with a spokesperson for the airline telling Executive Traveller that further details on its 737-8 operations "will be announced at a later date."

Also read: Singapore Airlines' new Changi T3 business lounge opens end of 2021


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.