Infobox Airline
airline = SilkAir

logo_size = 150
fleet_size = 13 (+2 orders)
destinations = 29
callsign = SILKAIR
parent = Singapore Airlines Limited
company_slogan = Where the world unwinds
founded = 1989 (as Tradewinds)
headquarters = Singapore
key_people = Chin Yau Seng (Chief Executive Officer)
hubs = Singapore Changi Airport
secondary_hubs =
focus_cities =
frequent_flyer = KrisFlyer
lounge = SATS Premier Lounge
alliance =
subsidiaries =
website =

SilkAir (Singapore) Private Limited is an airline based in Singapore. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines and operates scheduled passenger services from Singapore to 26 cities in Southeast Asia, South Asia and China. As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, it serves 29 out of 50 short-haul destinations in the Singapore Airlines Group network, and flew 1.56 million passengers in 2006. It made a profit of S$30 million, as turnover rose 20.4% to $415 million. [cite news | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 16 March 2007 | title = SilkAir passenger numbers up 25% ]


The airline had its roots as a regional air-charter company in the form of Tradewinds Charters, formed in 1976, and using planes predominantly leased from parent company Singapore Airlines serving leisure destinations. Scheduled services were introduced as Tradewinds Airlines on 21 February, 1989, when it leased McDonnell Douglas MD-87 airplanes for services to six destinations, namely Bandar Seri Begawan, Pattaya, Phuket, Hat Yai and Kuantan from Singapore's Changi Airport and Tioman from Singapore's Seletar Airport. As the carrier matured, regional business destinations such as Jakarta, Phnom Penh and Yangon were added to its network, thereby broadening the airline's appeal beyond the holiday-maker to include the business traveller.

A major marketing overhaul was started in 1991, culminating on 1 April, 1992, by giving the airline its present name and logo as a new corporate identity [ [ SilkAir website - New corporate identity] ] . The re-branded airline utilised up to six of the new Boeing 737-300s introduced just a year earlier. The mid-1990s saw two Airbus A310-200 aircraft in use and the expansion of services to India as well as mainland China. It was the first Asian carrier to offer handheld portable video-on-demand (VOD) in-flight entertainment in the form of the "DigEplayer" 5500, available on flights to selected countries. [ [!875077365!NONE SilkAir: SilkAir Experience - Inflight Entertainment ] ]

Incident & accident

* On 19 December, 1997, SilkAir Flight 185, operated by a Boeing 737-300 and piloted by Captain Tsu Way Ming, plunged into the Musi River in Sumatra during a routine flight from Jakarta to Singapore, killing all 104 people on board. The Indonesian NTSC ruled that the cause of the accident could not be determined, while the United States NTSB concluded that the incident was "consistent with ... intentional pilot action". There was however no conclusive evidence to support suicidal motives, and a subsequent court case concluded that the crash was caused by a defective servo valve in the plane's rudder resulting in a rudder hard-over. Lawsuits and counter-suits filed by Boeing and Singapore Airlines against each other over the rudder issue was eventually withdrawn by both parties.



SilkAir began operations with leased McDonnell Douglas MD-87 aircraft in 1989, before investing in its own fleet of six Boeing 737-300s, the first of which began operations in 1991. It operated two Airbus A310-200s for a brief period from 1993 to 1995 before they were transferred to Singapore Airlines, and two Fokker F70 from 1995 to 2000. It began replacing its Boeing fleet with Airbus aircraft when the first Airbus A320-200 arrived in 1998, and retired all Boeing aircraft a year later. [ [ Historic Fleets of SilkAir] ]

Today, the SilkAir fleet, with an average of 5.5 years in operation, consists of the following aircraft [ [ SilkAir fleet] ] :

On 20 December, 2006, SilkAir signed an agreement to purchase 11 Airbus A320-200 aircraft with nine more on option. These aircraft will be delivered between 2009-2012 [ [ SilkAir website - Airbus orders] ] .



There are only two classes of cabins available on all SilkAir flights - business class and economy class.

Business Class

Business class cabins are available on all SilkAir flights. The business-class cabins offer a seat pitch of between 39 to 40 inches and legroom of 19.3 inches.

Economy Class

All economy class cabins on SilkAir have a seat pitch of 32 inches and legroom of 11 inches.



SilkAir offers Oriental and Western menus which emphasise on flavours of the region. Local delights such as Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, mee siam and mee rebus are available on selected flights.


SilkAir offers its passengers a handheld device called the "DigEplayer" as in-flight entertainment. Interested passengers travelling in economy class on selected flights may rent the DigEplayer on board for a fee of S$15 per person. DigEplayers are complimentary for business-class passengers flying on selected routes. [" [!2010088812!875077365 Inflight Entertainment] ," "SilkAir"]

Codeshare partners

*Singapore Airlines
*Malaysia Airlines
*Garuda Indonesia


External links

* [ SilkAir Website]

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