SilkAir brings Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights to Cairns, Darwin

SilkAir brings Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights to Cairns, Darwin

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.

  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    Singapore Airlines' regional arm SilkAir is upgrading its ageing Airbus A319 and A320 fleet with Boeing's new 737 MAX 8 jets.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    A signature feature of these next-gen Boeing 737s are the 'split scimitar' wingtips, which reduce drag and boost fuel efficiency.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    SilkAir's Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets have 12 business class seats up front, and 144 seats in the economy cabin.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    The all-new business class seats are far more spacious than their siblings on the Airbus A319 and A320.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    In addition to a generous 49" pitch (up from 39" on the Airbus fleet), the recline increases from 8" to a nap-friendly 12".
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    Each seat boasts a spacious side pocket for easy access to personal items as well as AC and USB power sockets.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    Business class flyers can also enjoy freshly-brewed gourmet Illy coffee above the clouds.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    SilkAir's inflight meals for business class flights over three hours cover eastern and western options, such as this Singaporean nonya laksa...
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    ... chicken masala served with vegetables and spiced rice...
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    ... and a simpler 'chicken caesar sandwich' served with caesar salad.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    There are no video screens in either business class or economy: movies, TV shows and music from the SilkAir Studio system are beamed over WiFi to tablets and smartphones.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    The 144 slimline economy class seats in the Boeing 737 MAX 8 are ranked in a familiar 3-3 layout...
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    ... with SilkAir opting for both aqua and light grey seat colours to break up the cabin.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    Each seat sports a seat-back holder for tablets and smartphones plus a handy USB power socket.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    Of course, you can always plonk your tablet onto the tray table too.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    SilkAir will have three Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets in the air by the end of 2017, and a staggering 34 more still to come.
  • Inside SilkAir's new Boeing 737 MAX 8

    SilkAir will have three Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets in the air by the end of 2017, and a staggering 34 more still to come.

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.

Also read: SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX 8 business class review

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.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

9 comments

  • Rosemary Chalmers

    Rosechal

    8 Dec, 2017 07:35 pm

    Great to hear as I am flying to Singapore from Darwin on the 4th May and returning on the 1st July. The previous information I got from Silk Air a few weeks ago was the same vague answer ABT got.
    No member give thanks

  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    9 Dec, 2017 02:10 pm

    The problem is in Cairns we get whacked big time on fares to Asia and short flight times, Qantas should return CNS to HKG as CX flights are always full. These new aircraft have PE seats don't call them J as they're not.
    No member give thanks

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    9 Dec, 2017 11:07 pm

    At least you get flights out of Cairns gumshoe, although as you point out they are a little on the expensive side, spare a thought for those of us down the road in Townsville, we couldn’t even get Bali flights to last, the long trips via Brisbane will continue for us.
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    11 Dec, 2017 03:57 pm

    @gumshoe:
    "Qantas should return CNS to HKG as CX flights are always full."
    If U understand half(or even more than half) of the pax load on a full CX flight for CNS-HKG has nothing to do with starting or ending a journey in HKG, U would know why QF would not return to CNS-HKG as starting or ending a journey in HKG would be all QF could offer fm CNS....even the ultra-low frequency HX on CNS-HKG route can offer more than QF in regards to connectivity @ HKG.

    I flew HKG-CNS 20yrs ago with QF on a 763ER. Today, the best and only chance QF Group will return to that route would be JQ.
    No member give thanks

  • Tlar

    Tlar

    9 Dec, 2017 10:53 pm

    Recliner for 4.5hrs on a red-eye 230am departure. Not keen. Wish they put in Lay-flat or even Angle Flat seats in J.

    Pity MH does not fly to darwin anyone. I miss my OW Status options when traveling oversea. I heard there 737-Max10 they order maybe be reconfig to have lay-flat seats.
    No member give thanks

  • Austin Taylor

    Austin

    10 Dec, 2017 12:49 am

    Hang on just a mo, Why cant Silk Air use DRW as a stop-over on the way to SYD/MEL/ADL... ??
    No member give thanks

  • Tlar

    Tlar

    10 Dec, 2017 11:42 pm

    Uhm, Silk Air Sister airline already fly to SYD/MEL/ADL/BNE/PER. That is Singapore Airline. Can SIA Has a far superior products then Silk in J and Y. As SIA is Long Haul airline.
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    11 Dec, 2017 03:26 pm

    @Austin:
    "Why cant Silk Air use DRW as a stop-over on the way to SYD/MEL/ADL... ??
    Hang on just a mo, why can't QF or VA also use ADL as a stop-over on the way to BNE/SYD/MEL for all flights from PER...?
    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    12 Dec, 2017 09:12 pm

    Many reasons. For one the flights to Darwin, everytime I've flown the route (about 6 times in past 2 years) have always been near on full (except J where twice I was only pax and other times only 2 or 3 of us).

    This is also backed up by the fact the flights used to go SIN-DRW-CNS-SIN and SIN-CNS-DRW-SIN and about 12-18 months ago they separated them into direct flights.

    Secondly MI is SQ's regional arm, there is nothing to be gained from going further on, even if there was capacity and demand. That's where SQ would come into the picture.
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 May, 2019 02:55 am

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