Two Former Singapore Airlines A380s To Be Sold For Parts

Filed Under: Singapore

It’s a sad day for the A380, though I guess this isn’t too surprising.

Singapore Airlines is in the process of retiring the first five Airbus A380s that they ever took delivery of. They were the launch customer for the plane, and took delivery of the first A380 in 2007. The airline had these on a 10 year lease, and decided not to renew that lease. Instead they’ll take delivery of the five additional A380s that they’ve had on order for a while, meaning their A380 fleet will maintain the same number of planes.

Of those five planes, Portuguese aircraft leasing company Hi Fly is expected to take delivery of two of these A380s.

One plane has already been handed over to them, while another will be handed over soon. It’s expected that these planes will be in service within the next few months, and that the planes will maintain their current configuration. I can’t wait to see which airline Hi Fly ends up leasing the planes to, and how I can get into one of the Suites.

This leaves three more A380s that are being returned to leasing companies, including the first two A380s that ever flew for Singapore Airlines (these are frames #3 and #5, as frames #1, #2, and #4 were Airbus test aircraft). Singapore Airlines has returned these planes to their owner, Dr. Peters Group. The downside to the first few frames is that they’re heavier than the rest, so they’re the least desirable A380s.

Both Airbus and Dr. Peters Group have been working together to try and find a buyer for these planes. Obviously Dr. Peters Group wants the best possible return on their investment, while Airbus is trying to do everything they can to salvage the A380 program, including making the plane desirable on the secondhand market.

Dr. Peters Group claims they’ve had discussions with British Airways, Hi Fly, and Iran Air regarding the planes. However, in the end the company has decided to sell the two A380s for parts, meaning that Singapore Airlines’ first two A380s will be destroyed.

Selling the various components of the planes is expected to take two years, and for the time being Dr. Peters Group is already leasing out the Rolls Royce engines, which will be sold by 2020. Total proceeds per aircraft are said to be about $45 million, which they say exceeds the expectations of their investors.

As an aviation geek it will be sad to see an A380 sold for parts, but it’s also not surprising. While a decade ago the A380 seemed like it would change aviation, unfortunately it seems like it’s just Emirates that’s obsessed with the plane, along with us passengers of course. Airbus, ultimately, considers the program to be a success.

  1. The A380 is like the family van. The kids have grown up and it’s time to depend on smaller sedans to allow flexibility.

  2. I heard that there has been a sudden spike in demand on the PEK – FNJ route. Perhaps Air China or Air Koryo can lease them, or one each maybe?

  3. “A decade ago the A380 seemed like it would change aviation”

    It really never seemed that way. It was revolutionary, but not in a way that serious analysts of the industry believed was good. The trend was already away from what A380 could do and were it not for Emirates, the plane would be long dead as a production item.

    The A380 was a product of 747 envy, and even the queen is in her twilight years. It wasn’t a product of much business logic, was a challenge for too many airports, was uneconomical for most carriers.

    Yes, av geeks love A380. Yes, first class flyers too. It’s a unique experience and we should enjoy it while it lasts.

  4. A380 would be ideal government planes similar to air force one.

    Or for fly cruise packages. Maybe a cruise company should own one.

  5. I definitely agree that the A380 doesn’t fit it time. But with passenger markets increasing, I have wondered for some time now if the A380 isn’t a bit ahead of it time.

    I mean by that that we see some (longhaul) routes edging each day towards saturation. We’re still far from that, but I’m just asking if maybe, MAYBE, in the 2030’s demand for 300+ passenger planes is going to be interesting.

    After discussing it with friend it the airplane manufacturing industry, this seems unlikely given that 4 engines planes are a relic of the past. But one can dream I guess…

  6. Very comfortable onboard but still creates some havoc for luggage , immigration and security at some airports. EG, Melbourne arrivals , now that QF36 SIN-MEL is a 380 and the early morning arrival coincides with an EK380, the luggage handlers appear not to cope: yesterday a ONE HOUR wait for bags at the carousel ( a common occurrence). This just doesn’t happen with a 350, 787 or even a 777.
    Of course that’s not the fault of the plane but rather the moronic bureaucrats whose ‘planning’ leaves a lot to be desired.
    Expect to see a lot of 380s heading for some dodgy carriers over the next few years and/or parked in that elephant’s graveyard in the Nevada/California desert.
    It’s a pity but the 350 and 787 have won this round, by a significant margin.

  7. @Paolo – I’d suggest that’s more a problem on the airport side. Australian airport authorities just cannot seem to deliver bags in a timely manner.

  8. I visited the Airbus factory in 2006, when the first Singapore A380 was being assembled, still unpainted from the outside except for the tail. It’s sad to see this same aircraft now being sold for parts… I still love flying the A380!!

  9. Paolo, MEL transit screening and lounges could not cope with a fully loaded EK380 when I transited thru on one of the DXB-MEL-AKL c. 2013. The airport did not seem to have been expanded to cope with one of two security lanes down in an already cramped facility, and the gate lounge packed with pax like sardines. Things had improved notably next time I passed thru in 2016 – the entire part of the terminal we were processed thru was new and much larger, and waaay more efficient. Can’t comment on bag claim, of course.

    This apparently premature SIA retirement of the two ‘too heavy’ early airframes reminds me of an early 777 scrappage in the early 2000s. Some of the first 777s went new (from about 1996) to mostly US carriers for mostly domestic and short hop use so had very limited fuel capacity/range and were generally unsaleable to second tier operators wanting to do longer haul.

    There was one in particular that had been with a South American operator – in poor financial state – from new but had not been well maintained. By the time it was offered for resale it was in such poor condition overall it was deemed good only for parts and scrapped before its 10th birthday. Ironically, its estimated value broken up was about twice resale value intact.

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