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UPDATE | SilkAir will swap its regular Boeing 737-800 jets for its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes on flights from Singapore to Cairns and Darwin from early 2018, the airline has confirmed.
For business class flyers, there's 10 extra inches of seat pitch compared to the outgoing aircraft, increasing from 39 to 49 inches, along with a steeper recline of 12 inches, boosted from 8 inches.
Flight MI801 to Darwin on January 7 2018 will be the first regularly scheduled Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight to Australia, leaving The Lion City at 8:30am for a 2:50pm arrival into Darwin.
The same plane jets back to Singapore as flight MI802 later the same afternoon, pushing back at 3:45pm to reach Singapore at 7:30pm.
Cairns gets its first MAX 8 flight one day later, with SilkAIr flight MI811 departing Singapore at 1:10am to arrive in Cairns at 10am on the same calendar day, turning around as flight MI812 at 11:20am, for a 4:45pm arrival into Singapore.
Darwin's MI803/MI804 flight also swaps to the MAX 8 jet on flights from January 8 out of Singapore and January 9 from the NT capital.
These flights are now open for booking via the SilkAir website, with Virgin Australia Velocity members able to earn and redeem points on SilkAir flights, and accrue status credits on eligible paid fares.
PREVIOUS, November 24 2018, by David Flynn | Singapore Airlines' regional arm SilkAir has tentatively rostered its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets onto Cairns and Darwin flights for late 2018, although the airline isn't ready to officially announce the upgrade or circle any date in its calendar.
According to the timetable-watching website RoutesOnline, a "preliminary schedule" shows the factory-fresh Boeing 737 MAX 8s on Singapore–Cairns flights (MI811/MI812 and MI813/MI814) and Singapore–Darwin flights (MI801/MI802 and MI803/804) as of October 28, 2018.
Those jets feature twelve of SilkAir's comfortable new business class seats at the pointy end of the plane, with wireless inflight entertainment – but alas, no Internet – from tip to tail.
However, approached by Australian Business Traveller, a SilkAir spokesperson declined to comment directly on the listing, saying "We constantly review our aircraft deployment plan, and will announce any confirmed plans at the appropriate time."
SilkAir has signed up for 37 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets – the same jet which Virgin Australia expects to begin flying from 2019, and which Qantas is also eying for its domestic fleet – and will have close 2017 with three in its fleet and 34 due through to 2021.