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%.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.