Singapore Airlines Retiring 26 Planes, Including Some A380s

Filed Under: Singapore

Singapore Airlines has just announced its financial results for the first half of the fiscal year, and as part of this the airline has revealed plans to retire over two dozen aircraft.

Singapore Airlines retiring 26 aircraft

Singapore Airlines will be retiring 26 aircraft that are “deemed surplus to fleet requirements” after a business review. The airline will be retiring the following planes:

  • Seven Airbus A380s
  • Four Boeing 777-200ERs
  • Four Boeing 777-300s
  • Nine Airbus A320s
  • Two Airbus A319s

Singapore Airlines is retiring four 777-200ERs

For a bit more context on these aircraft retirements:

  • ~37% of Singapore Airlines’ A380 fleet is being retired, as the airline has a total of 19
  • The four Boeing 777-200ERs being retired represent most of the plane type, though in recent years this has always been a niche aircraft for Singapore Airlines
  • The four Boeing 777-300s being retired represent the entirety of the fleet; note that these are short haul aircraft, separate from the 777-300ERs used for long haul flights
  • Regional subsidiary SilkAir is being merged into Singapore Airlines, and the A319 and A320 retirements represent the entirety of the Airbus narrow body fleet; going forward the only narrow body plane will be the 737

Singapore Airlines is retiring its entire 777-300 fleet

My take on Singapore Airlines’ A380 retirement

Back in late July it was revealed that Singapore Airlines was considering retiring its A380 fleet. This came in the form of a warning about possible impairment charges for the retirement of older aircraft, though no decisions had been made at the time.

I’d say Singapore Airlines dumping seven of its 19 A380s is roughly in line with what I would have expected:

Singapore Airlines is retiring seven 19 A380s

Is this the end of the A380 to New York?

Pre-pandemic, the only Singapore Airlines route to the United States to get the A380 was SQ25/26, the service between Singapore and New York, via Frankfurt. It was always such a pleasure to be able to take the fifth freedom flight between New York and Frankfurt, as it was one of the best ways to cross the Atlantic.

If I were to place a bet, I would guess that the retirement of seven A380s also spells the end of Singapore Airlines’ A380 service to New York. Why?

  • Singapore Airlines once again flies nonstop between Singapore and New York; even though the route doesn’t have first class, many may choose this for the convenience of a nonstop
  • Even before the pandemic, there was talk of Singapore Airlines flying from Singapore to New York via Tokyo rather than Frankfurt
  • The aircraft utilization for the route was never great, as the plane sat in New York all day; it takes more than two A380s to operate this route daily
  • With fewer A380s, I think the priority for Singapore Airlines will be flying these planes to nonstop key markets, like London, Sydney, Paris, Melbourne, etc.

I doubt Singapore Airlines will resume New York A380 flights

Where do we stand on airlines retiring the A380?

Pre-pandemic there were 14 airlines flying the Airbus A380, so where do we currently stand on airlines retiring these planes? Here are the airlines that have either announced plans to retire the A380, or where it seems very likely that they’ll be retired:

Lufthansa is retiring its A380s

Bottom line

Following a business review, Singapore Airlines will be retiring 26 planes, including seven A380s, eight 777s, and 11 former SilkAir planes. I’d say the A380 retirements here are the most interesting.

Seeing seven of 19 A380s retired is roughly in line with what I’d expect, based on what the airline hinted at before. On the plus side, at least the airline isn’t retiring its A380s altogether. Still, we should expect a scaled back A380 network going forward.

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ aircraft retirements?

  1. They stopped flying the A380 to Paris a while back, I think, even before the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, aviation authorities have designated Northern Delaware as National Defense Airspace. What do you make of that?

  2. Check out the availability to New York late next summer. It looks like they’ve already accounted for a switch to the 77W as they’re only selling four F seats. Same way they telegraphed the switch the new new A380 on the Sydney route a few years ago.

  3. Ben, as an interested observer rather than someone with any deep insight, in light of SQ not retiring all of its A380 fleet, I suspect you’re right that they will use them on Sydney and Melbourne routes, among some others. They were busy routes for both SQ and QF before this. That would point to the likelihood that QF would also reintroduce theirs on those routes. I can’t see the other QF routes having the demand for the A380 any time soon with the state of the pandemic in the US and UK, so Singapore routes may be the first that prompt QF to reactivate them. All of that will depend, however on the speed with which the Australian government opens up outbound international travel for Australians, and to where.

  4. I will miss flying the 777-300 for 2-3hr “short hauls” from Singapore. The lower demand routes are prolly gonna be replaced w/ Silk Air’s 737s for the next year or so…sad!

  5. I see the slow A380 death. Maybe 5-6 years from now, we’ll see Emirates, Qantas, British Airways, Singapore, ANA, China Southern. Maybe in 10 years, we’ll see Emirates, Qantas, British Airways, China Southern.

  6. Bad news if you’re an A380 pilot. Seems it’s slowly going to disappear as an aircraft type.
    @lucky Did Thai already retire it’s A380s?
    ANA must be wishing it hadn’t just got 3 new A380s. Maybe they will have the shortest lifespan is any commercial aircraft?!

  7. Wonder how they’ll serve Koh Samui as I don’t think they can get in there with a 737. Whenever the A319s have gone tech the flights have been cancelled or had to wait for the remaining A319 to do two rotations.

    Handed over to Bangkok Airways I imagine, they already codeshare on the evening flights. But lack of Krisflyer redemption will be a shame, the fare on this short hop can be eye-watering !

  8. Going to regret never flying the a380… Hopefully i can still visit one in a museum some day like we can with Concordes

  9. Airlines should be legally barred from retiring comfortable four engine planes. That’ll teach them to focus on product instead of trying to minimize their cost base as much as possible

  10. A380 is a fuel guzzler no doubt and it will make sense to reduce operating such airline in view of the low passenger load. However when the market recovers, the A380 will fulfill the needs to carry more passengers in a single flight and perhaps also very cost efficient if the crude price remains below US60 per barrel.

    SIA current predicament besides COVID-19 is because of the hedging of jet fuel for 2020 which cause them to bleed hundred of millions.

  11. A great aircraft to fly with but the maintenance is high. It’s just like owning a RR car which is comfortable yet come with expensive parts.

  12. Looking forward to mainline SQ service within ASEAN countries (PEN, KUL, KCH, BKI, HAN, SGN, etc). Flights to SIN remain slightly higher but not to nearby destinations. Hence, buy the ticket to a point beyond SIN and get a “stopover” for free.

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