By Charlotte Seet
Singapore Airlines Anticipates Return Of Boeing 737 MAX
Following two deadly crashes that sounded safety concerns, the rather promising Boeing 737 MAX aircraft fleet was quickly grounded worldwide and until today, not many airlines have returned the aircraft type back to service.
Even as regulators in various countries approve of its return to the skies, several airlines remain slightly more cautious in jumping the gun, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
Specifically in Singapore, as it was only back in September when the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) — Singapore’s national aviation regulator — approved the return to service of the 737 MAX. When the news was announced then, the national carrier Singapore Airlines did not release details on its 737 MAX operations.
After more than two years of grounding, the wait might finally be ending as Singapore Airlines will potentially bring back the 737 MAX to the skies before the end of this year, signifying a positive sign for the return of the aircraft in the region.
Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial Lee Lik Hsin, said, “We certainly ourselves are satisfied with everything that we have done, in accordance with what the regulators have asked for, that it is a safe aircraft,” in regards to consumer confidence in the aircraft type.
However, the green light is still pending as the airline requires approvals from other countries to fly the 737 MAX in their airspace and for landing. Currently, Australia, India, Japan and Malaysia, are among other Asian countries that have approved the plane’s return to service, while China and Indonesia are among those that have not.
With a fleet of six aircraft from the now-folded Silkair, the Star Alliance member is hoping that the 737 MAX will progressively serve short-to-medium haul flights that will include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal and Thailand.
“We certainly hope it will be as soon as possible,” Lee said. “We definitely expect that it will be before this year is out.”
Singapore Airlines will definitely be ready to showcase to its passengers a brand-new look on its six 737 MAX aircraft, once the anticipated resumption happens.
After a hefty S$230 million investment in the development, design and installation, the national carrier is proud to launch new industry-leading cabin products aimed at elevating the passenger experience, allowing for a similar feel to a wide-body aircraft.
“The 737-8 cabin has been designed with a special focus on ergonomics, helping to ensure that everything is within easy reach for customers,” the airline said in a press release.
All of Singapore Airlines’ 737 MAX aircraft will have 154 seats in two classes, 10 in Business Class and 144 in Economy Class. The airline plans to include its new cabin products featuring lie-flat Business Class seats and sleek, slim-line seats for Economy Class.
The aircraft will also feature Panasonic’s X-Series seat-back in-flight entertainment, allowing all customers to enjoy the latest KrisWorld entertainment content with Panasonic’s in-flight Wi-Fi service, as well as mobile data connectivity services.
Once the remaining 31 737 MAX aircraft have been delivered to the airline, the state-of-the-art cabin enhancements will be gradually rolled out to those as well.
After more than two years of being grounded, it would be quite breathtaking to see the once regarded “game-changer” aircraft back in the skies for the Asia-Pacific region, with hopefully more airlines and countries soon to follow.