Singapore Airlines to retire Airbus A380s, Boeing 777s

Over a third of Singapore Airlines' A380s are being put out to pasture as the carrier right-sizes its fleet for the Covid era.

By David Flynn, November 7 2020
Singapore Airlines to retire Airbus A380s, Boeing 777s

Singapore Airlines will send 26 aircraft into retirement, including more than a third of its flagship Airbus A380s and all Boeing 777-300s, following a review of its network in light of Covid-19 and a crippling S$3.5 billion loss in the first half of its 2020-2021 financial year.

Facing not only a global downturn in travel but a raft of border closures including at Singapore itself, and with no domestic market to fall back on, the carrier has seen passenger numbers plummet by 98.9%.

It's a premature farewell for over a third of Singapore Airlines' A380 fleet.
It's a premature farewell for over a third of Singapore Airlines' A380 fleet.

With global travel demand unlikely to return until 2024, by some predictions, Singapore Airlines will retire 26 aircraft which is has "deemed surplus to fleet requirements.

This will be led by seven Airbus A380s, representing just shy of 40% of the 19-strong fleet.

These will presumably from the older 'original' of the superjumbo fleet which introduced the airline's private first class suites.

A touch of luxe for the world's first superjumbo.
A touch of luxe for the world's first superjumbo.

All of the airline's double-decker juggernauts have been grounded since March.

Around a dozen remain parked at Changi Airport, where some have been turned into a pop-up restaurant serving lunch and dinner to 'passengers' who never leave the ground.

The remainder reside at the long-term Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs, where the arid climate and low humidity helps keep aircraft in top condition until they're ready to fly again.

Over a hundred jets stand idle at this outback storage facility.
Over a hundred jets stand idle at this outback storage facility.

Read more: This 'airplane parking lot' at Alice Springs has never been busier

Singapore Airlines was notably the prestigious launch customer for the Airbus A380 on October 2007, and from December 2017 added a second tranche of newer A380s sporting upgraded first and business class designs.

Singapore Airlines' latest A380s sport six spacious first class suites.
Singapore Airlines' latest A380s sport six spacious first class suites.

Also being put put to pasture are all four of the airline's Boeing 777-300s – not the better-known and longer-range 777-300ER jets – plus four more Boeing 777-200ERs.

In addition, the entirety of regional arm SilkAir's single-aisle Airbus A319 and A320 fleet is being scrapped to favour the Boeing 737 and 737 MAX fleet.

As previously reported, SilkAir is being folded into its parent superbrand, which will also see the Boeing 737s flying a new lie-flat regional business class seat (shown below in a dressed-by-Boeing treatment).

Thompson Aero's Vantage seat on the SilkAir Boeing 737s will offer flat beds for all and 'solo' seats for some.
Thompson Aero's Vantage seat on the SilkAir Boeing 737s will offer flat beds for all and 'solo' seats for some.

Singapore Airlines flagged the likely right-sizing of its fleet in July, saying "we are reviewing the potential shape and size of our network over the longer term given COVID-19 and its impact on our passenger traffic and revenue, which will provide better clarity on the fleet size and mix that the group will need."

The carrier has also been forced to push back the launch of its Boeing 777-9 jetliners, including their new-look first class suites and business class seats.

Read more: Singapore Airlines delays launch of new Boeing 777X first, business class

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 544

Good riddance to the 777. Lets hope more airlines do the same and consolidate A350 and 787 fleets.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 334

Are you kidding? The 3-3-3 economy layout in the 777 is the best in the sky.

did a very quick search online for exit limit of a B777-300ER. Said 550, if actual aircraft certified to that number, OR 2 class (small premium economy) with somewhere between 400 & 500 seats.

So could jam many seats on board, to lower per seat cost & make a low cost airline or extension of Scoot to fly via somewhere like Apia Samoa(APW). Believe Air NZ B777s have landed there before.

APW could become a minihub.

Flights could depart BNE, SYD & MEL(or AVV) around the same time, arrive within 30 mins of each other & then the aircraft continue onto YVR(or YXX), SFO, LAX or similar.

Instead of turning the aircraft around straight away, the same crew from APW to west coast north america, could rest for required period, then bring aircraft back to APW.

With recession, many looking for lower cost options.

Would also make flights Australia to APW cheaper, simply with economies of scale.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 544

JAL has just done the same...culling its 777. Telling.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 533

Zurich and New York A380 routed should stay

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 320

it's too big.a350 for australia to singapore is more than adequate.i have also been on their a330 and their 777 and the latter were crap(adelaide-singapore connecting onwards to ho chi minh city but returning from hanoi first time around to vietnam close to 11 years ago)you had this at the time state of the art new to singapore airlines plane on the longer sector but within asia you were downgraded to something terrible.the 777 had no audio video on demand amongst other things.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 58

I'll miss the A380, my favourite plane from my favourite airline.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 217

Unfortunately I feel like this is only going to be amongst the first of many airlines partially retiring their A380 fleets. It seems inevitable that not all of QF's A380s will return too.

surely, this would be the perfect opportunity for Singapore Airlines to either expand Scoot or create another low cost carrier to fly Australia to USA/Canada with one very brief stop in some friendly nation.

One stops works for Air NZ to LAX, SFO, YVR(vancouver) & for Fiji air to LAX, SFO.

Could start with as few as 2 x Boeing 777s. Could even be older 777-200s. Obviously their value on paper is almost nil.

100s or 1000s of B777 pilots desperate for work.

Could start with as few as 1 or 2 flights a week, from each port in Australia.

That friendly nation could eventually become a minihub.

Qantas

10 Sep 2013

Total posts 2

Oh Regular Flyer/ up up and away

Your comments sound like a travel agent. 

who'd want to be a travel agent these days !!!

Then again, wouldn't call flight centre just a travel agent. They help airlines/hotels/resorts, more than airlines/hotels/resorts help them.

Apparently Flight Centres margins are pretty good. Around 20% for most airlines, hotels & much more for travel insurance.

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 107

I wouldn’t hoo writing those percentages because airlines give just a small fraction of that 20% - if they give anything at all - and there are plenty of airlines that give nothing to agents except the prestige of being able to sell them to customers.  The 20% margin you mention is 99.9% unlikely to be given on anything except for maybe travel insurance, and that’s very likely not going very far either. 

Flight Centre are also a wholesaler (not sure of divisions name - might be Integrity or something similar). Wholesalers work off roughly 20% minimum as they give 10-12% or more to retail only travel agents.

Not all airlines give 20% commission (not on taxes) but some do, or wholesalers/agents get nett fares & mark them up to whatever they want.

Some agents buy seats upfront so margins can be huge. Have seen cases of 100% mark ups.

 Travel agents often don't sell airlines that don't pay them very much or bad mouth them.

eg. someone contacts agent & say they saw goof fare on x airlines to EU. Agent might then, say, oh you don't want to fly them, they are awful because .....

The travel agents who make money, aren't order takers.

Travel insurance used to pay 50% commission. This has come down a bit since online offers, but many agents make more on travel insurance, than on what is being insured.

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 60

777 is simply going to be too big for the foreseeable future. It's a 2 engined 747..waaay too much pax capacity unless it's flying cargo and seats removed for even more cargo. It's also old technology even the 777x will be outdated. 

777s can just fly a route less frequently. Before corona, Singapore used to fly to BNE, SYD, MEL up to 3 times a day to each, IIRC.

11 Nov 2020

Total posts 1

I sincerely hope they don't cut the Sydney - Singapore A380 flight with the new(ish) First Class Suite. After saving up for so long to finally get that experience... But my gut feeling is to embrace for a whole lot of disappointment.

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

19 Mar 2016

Total posts 36

I always find it interesting that some people have such an attachment to a particular type or brand of plane, I for one would say that the A380 is a quiet plane compared to others but by no measure is a favourite or must fly on and if anything would prefer the 777-300er.


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