KrisFlyer News SilkAir Singapore Airlines

SilkAir to fly Singapore – Busan from May 2019

Award availability is plentiful on new four times weekly flights to South Korea's second largest city

Busan Bridge (Brendan Meachen)

Singapore Airlines’ full-service regional subsidiary SilkAir announced yesterday that it would start non-stop flights from Singapore to Busan, South Korea, in just 10 weeks time.

SilkAir will be the sole airline to fly the Singapore – Busan route, providing a four times weekly connection to the second largest city in South Korea from 1st May 2019.

The schedule

SilkAir will offer overnight service to Busan, departing Singapore shortly after 11pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for a 7am landing in the South Korean city the following morning.

Southbound the Busan to Singapore flight departs at 8am on Tuesdays and 8.30am on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, for early afternoon arrival into Changi on the same day.

From 1st May 2019 (2nd May 2019 from PUS)
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
MI876 SIN2315 – PUS0700* 7M8 1·3·56·
MI875 PUS0800 – SIN1415 7M8 ·2·····
MI875 PUS0830 – SIN1415 7M8 ···4·67

* Next day

Flight times clock in at 6 hours 45 minutes from Singapore to Busan, and up to 7 hours 15 minutes from Busan to Singapore, making this one of the longest non-stop flights on the SilkAir network.

Indeed in distance terms the 4,549km route falls just short of the airline’s existing non-stop flights from Singapore to Cairns (5,009km) and Hiroshima (4,737km).

Boeing 737 MAX

The route will be flown using SilkAir’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in a two-class configuration, with 12 Business Class seats and 144 in Economy Class.

silkmaxbiz
SilkAir’s current Business Class seats on the 737 MAX. (Photo:SilkAir)

Wireless in-flight entertainment is available through SilkAir Studio, and in Economy Class all seats feature device holders and USB charging ports.

MImaxY
SilkAir’s Boeing 737 MAX Economy Class seats. (Photo: SilkAir)

From May 2020 these Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will benefit from Thompson Vantage flat-bed seats in Business Class, as we reported last week. This product will be progressively installed to the MAX fleet, ahead of a full integration of the regional wing into Singapore Airlines, which we expect to take place in late 2020.

flydubai J3 (flydubai)
Within a year, the Busan route should start seeing the new Thompson Vantage flat-bed Business Class seats, ahead of the merger of SilkAir into SIA. (Photo: flydubai)

The exact seating configuration has not yet been revealed, however we expect around 10 seats in Business Class in a 2-2, 1-1, 2-2 configuration, with a similar Economy Class fit of around 144 seats retaining the current 3-3 configuration.

In-flight entertainment will also be fitted at all seats, with a provider to be announced soon, though we haven’t heard of any plans to install Wi-Fi on these aircraft.

Redemption rates

The following redemption rates will apply for KrisFlyer members wishing to use their miles to fly to or from Busan.

KF Logo trans

KrisFlyer Redemption
Singapore ⇄ Busan
Saver Advantage
Economy 25,000 45,000
Business 47,000 70,000

Look out for this one possibly appearing on Spontaneous Escapes from April onwards. The relatively late-notice start date for this Busan route does not bode well for healthy load factors in the early days and weeks of operation, meaning the airline may be keen to encourage people to try the flights.

SilkAir included Hiroshima in a recent 50% Spontaneous Escapes discount offer (August 2018, for travel in September 2018), allowing Economy Class redemptions all the way from Singapore to Japan for just 12,500 miles. South Korea sits in the same KrisFlyer redemption zone and may well get a similar offer in due course.

Silk 737 Max (SilkAir).jpg
SilkAir’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will soon receive the Singapore Airlines livery. (Image: SilkAir)

Award availability

Flights were loaded into the reservation system this morning, including KrisFlyer redemptions. We checked award availability in Business Class for the first two months of operation on this route, and not surprisingly there are ample redemption opportunities.

On almost every flight four Business Class saver awards are available for immediate redemption at this stage.

Singapore to Busan

May 2019 (MI876 SIN-PUS)
M T W T F S S
1 2 3 4 5
WL 4 4
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
4 4 4 4
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
4 4 4 4
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
4 4 4 4
27 28 29 30 31
4 4 4

WL – Waitlist

June 2019 (MI876 SIN-PUS)
M T W T F S S
1 2
4
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
4 4 4 4
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
4 4 4 4
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
4 4 4 4
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
3 4 4 4

Busan to Singapore

May 2019 (MI875 PUS-SIN)
M T W T F S S
1 2 3 4 5
4 4 WL
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
4 4 4 4
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
4 4 4 4
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
4 4 4 4
27 28 29 30 31
4 4

WL – Waitlist

June 2019 (MI875 PUS-SIN)
M T W T F S S
1 2
4 4
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
4 4 4 4
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
4 4 4 4
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
4 4 4 4
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
4 4 4 4

Cash fares on this route in May 2019 start at S$499 return in Economy Class and S$2,328 return in Business Class.

The full Singapore Airlines press release for this new route announcement is available here.

Summary

Most of the news regarding SilkAir routes lately has been a story of retraction, as the airline right-sizes for integration with its full-service parent airline and hands more leisure focused routes to SIA budget subsidiary Scoot.

Fundamentally this is a new route and destination for Singapore Airlines, since the SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX jets and routes will transfer across to the mainline carrier next year. Busan is a popular tourist destination, but probably doesn’t have sufficient demand to fill an A330, for example.

In that sense the group is capitalising on the advantage of lower operating costs for the narrow-body SIA fleet in the form of the 737 MAX, tapping into new routes that are unlikely to sustain enough demand to justify a wide-body Singapore Airlines service.

(Cover Photo: Brendan Meachen)

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