Singapore’s SilkAir has selected UK-based Thompson Aero Seating as the supplier for its Boeing 737 MAX 8 business-class refurbishment program as the Singapore Airlines (SIA) subsidiary prepares to be merged into the parent company.

The upgrades, set to begin May 2020, will see the current fleet of five 737 MAX 8s retrofitted with the new seats, along with 32 aircraft on order. SilkAir’s subfleet of 14 737-800s will gradually be transferred to SIA LCC subsidiary Scoot.

The cabin enhancement will see the installation of lie-flat seats and new products consistent with SIA’s Airbus A350-900 and 787-10 business-class products. The upgrade is part of a S$100 million ($74.5 million) program that includes new seatback IFE systems for both business and economy class, aimed to bring the regional airline’s offerings on par with the greater SIA fleet.

The airline selected Thompson Aero’s Vantage seats over the new Vantage Solo product, an SIA spokesperson told ATW.

“We will be customizing the Vantage seat platform for alignment to SIA’s branding,” the spokesperson said.

According to Thompson Aero literature, the Vantage seats have a minimum width of 20.6 in., and the company recommends 16 seats on a Boeing 737, laid out in a 2-2, 1-1 staggered configuration.

Chen Chuanren,