There isn’t a dull moment for the Singapore Airlines fleet lately. Be it a passenger boarding bridge colliding with the engine of a (nearly new) A350ULR, or cracks being found in several engines on the (nearly new) 787-10s, it’s been an interesting month since our last update, and no doubt a frustrating one for the folk at Airline House.
Interestingly, and for the first time ever, a Singapore Airlines Airbus aircraft now wears the Star Alliance colour scheme.
There were 124 registered aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet as reported by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on 31st March 2019. As usual, we look at how they are distributed across the fleet, which are in active service and which are set for disposal.
Here’s how the Singapore Airlines fleet totals look at 4th April 2019.
|In maintenance, or delivered but yet to enter service:||-9|
The official registered aircraft data in combination with analysis of actual flight data over the last few weeks allows us to determine the actual ‘in service’ fleet of 122 planes at 4th April 2019, 113 of which are currently active.
Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 31st March 2019.
Singapore Airlines Fleet at 4th April 2019
This table shows the Singapore Airlines fleet including how many of each aircraft type are legally registered (‘Registered’), available to the airline (‘In Service’) and currently operating revenue passenger flights (‘Active’).
30 J (2009 RJ)
255 Y (2006 Y)
42 J (2013 J)
24 W (2015 W)
187 Y (2013 Y)
40 J (2018 RJ)
263 Y (2017 Y)
67 J (2013 J)
94 W (2018 W)
12 R (2006 R)
60 J (2006 J)
36 W (2015 W)
333 Y (2006 Y)
12 R (2006 R)
86 J (2006 J)
36 W (2015 W)
245 Y (2006 Y)
6 R (2017 R)
78 J (2017 J)
44 W (2015 W)
343 Y (2017 Y)
38 J (2009 RJ)
228 Y (2006 Y)
26 J (2006 J)
245 Y (2006 Y)
8 F (2006 F)
50 J (2009 RJ)
226 Y (2006 Y)
4 F (2013 F)
48 J (2013 J)
28 W (2015 W)
184 Y (2013 Y)
36 J (2018 RJ)
301 Y (2017 Y)
Correct at 4th April 2019.
Differences between registered, in service and active aircraft in the table:
No longer in service (but still legally registered)
- A330-300 9V-STT has already stopped flying for return to lessor (onwards to Evelop Airlines in Spain). The aircraft completed an air test in Evelop livery on 23rd March, and so should be leaving Singapore soon.
- 777-200 9V-SQJ has already stopped flying for disposal.
Additional to the above, not currently active
- A330-300 9V-STU is undergoing maintenance in Singapore. The aircraft has been repainted in a Singapore Airlines ‘Star Alliance’ colour scheme, completed an air test yesterday, and should return to service soon.
- A350-900 9V-SMB is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- A380-800 v1 9V-SKG is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- A380-800 v2 9V-SKS is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- A380-800 v2 9V-SKT is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- 777-300ER 9V-SWM is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- 787-10 9V-SCD is grounded in Singapore due to Rolls-Royce engine issues.
- 787-10 9V-SCE is grounded in Singapore due to Rolls-Royce engine issues.
- 787-10 9V-SCI is grounded in Singapore due to Rolls-Royce engine issues.
Changes this month
Since March 2019 (and since the CAAS database at 28th February 2019) the following changes have been recorded:
- 9V-STU, previously a candidate for possible return to lessor after -STT, will remain with SIA after all. It has been repainted in Star Alliance colours and should rejoin the active fleet soon.
- No changes, with the A330 fleet standing at 19 aircraft registered, 18 in service and 17 active.
- One aircraft, 9V-SMA, re-entered service following routine maintenance on 7th March to Hong Kong. It was out of service for just over two weeks.
- Another aircraft, 9V-SMB, entered routine maintenance on 26th March 2019 after a flight from Brisbane. Like -SMA last month, we expect the downtime to be short.
- The registered A350-900 fleet stands at 21, with 20 active.
After 9V-SMA’s short maintenance stint last month, you might be interested to know that the Airbus A350 is designed to have a higher frequency of shorter routine maintenance visits like this, to avoid so many of the traditional long ‘heavy’ checks, known as ‘D checks’. This is assisted by onboard computerised ‘health monitoring’, and allows more ‘uptime’ to the airline compared with older models.
A ‘D check’ (sometimes known as a C4 or C8 check) takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete and costs millions of dollars. Major aircraft components are virtually dismantled, replaced as required, and rebuilt from scratch, by a team of around 60 engineers. Work continues around the clock, 7 days a week.
While an A330 or 777 needs a ‘D check’ every 6 years, advances in technology mean newer aircraft like the A350 and 787 only need one every 12 years.
Airbus A350-900 Regional
- 9V-SHD, delivered in early March, entered commercial service to Jakarta on 11th March.
- The registered A350-900 Regional fleet stands at 4, all of which are active.
- One aircraft, 9V-SGE, was damaged by a moving passenger boarding bridge in Newark on 23rd March 2019. The aircraft was stationary and parked at the time. The return flight was cancelled and the aircraft was ferried back from Newark following repairs, landing back into Changi in the early hours of 31st March. It has since re-entered regular service.
- No significant disruption in the A350ULR fleet arose from the temporary grounding of 9V-SGE, since the flying program can be operated with 6 of the 7 aircraft.
- Currently 7 aircraft registered with 7 active.
- One aircraft, 9V-SKG, entered routine maintenance at Changi on 5th March after a flight from Beijing.
- 9V-SKT remains in routine maintenance in Singapore.
- 9V-SKS remains in routine maintenance in Singapore.
- Currently 19 aircraft registered, 19 in service and 16 active.
- No changes, with 8 aircraft registered and 7 active.
- No changes, with 5 aircraft registered and active.
- No changes, with 5 aircraft registered and active.
- 9V-SWM remains in routine maintenance in Singapore.
- Another plane, 9V-SWT, previously in routine maintenance and cabin refit since 23rd December last year, re-entered service on 29th March to Hong Kong. It was the final 777-300ER to be fitted with the 2013 cabin products.
- Currently 27 aircraft registered, 27 in service and 26 active.
- Premature cracking in the high pressure turbines on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines fitted to SIA’s 787-10s resulted in many aircraft being grounded this week. At one point, six of the nine planes weren’t flying, with their planned services picked up by 777s and A330s.
- The situation has improved, with four of the fleet grounded yesterday and only three currently grounded at Changi as of 4th April 2019: 9V-SCD, -SCE and -SCI.
- Currently 8 aircraft registered, with 5 active.
The Boeing 787 Rolls-Royce issues
We first mentioned the issues relating to the Rolls-Royce engine problems on the Singapore Airlines 787-10 fleet on Tuesday, when six of the airline’s nine aircraft weren’t flying at all.
We won’t go over the details again as they are in that article, however the situation has improved slightly with only three aircraft now grounded.
The number of flights originally planned to depart Changi each day on the Boeing 787-10 which have been substituted to other aircraft types, mostly A330s and 777-200s, has been steadily decreasing:
- 1st April – 8/13 (62%)
- 2nd April – 7/13 (53%)
- 3rd April – 6/13 (46%)
- 4th April – 5/13 (38%)
SIA appears to have an aim for two 787-10 aircraft to be grounded in the longer term (though they haven’t reached that point yet, despite stating it two days ago). Once that is reached, and depending on further developments with these engine problems, the schedule should return more closely to normal.
We’ll keep an eye on it and post an update if there are any major changes.
The Star Alliance A330
When two of Singapore Airlines’ A330s (9V-STT and -STU) were removed from the fleet in quick succession, with the former confirmed to be heading to a new operator, the fate of the second aircraft appeared sealed too.
Curious then that 9V-STU was rolled out of the hangar last month in a Star Alliance livery, fuelling some speculation that it might be heading (as other former SIA A330s have recently) to Brussels Airlines.
Well that theory was quashed yesterday as -STU flew an air test flight clearly in Singapore Airlines Star Alliance colours, confirming an imminent return to the SIA fleet.
This marks the first ever Airbus aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet to sport the Star Alliance livery.
The question of course, with the A330s all due to be returned to their respective leasing companies by the end of 2020, is why would Singapore Airlines go to the expense of repainting one of them now?
We don’t know the answer, but there are a few possibilities.
Star Alliance may be unhappy with the number of Singapore Airlines planes that currently wear the Star Alliance livery. It’s widely known that alliance members are obliged to have a certain percentage of their fleet painted this way, but the exact figure is a bit of a mystery. We’ve heard anything from 5% or 8% to ‘10% of the international fleet’.
By any of these measures SIA falls short, with only three Boeing 777s in Star Alliance colours.
Alternatively -STU may be on a short-term lease extension. Since the normal agreement for returning an aircraft at the end of a lease is to restore it to all-white paint, SIA may be saving itself some downtime when it comes to handing the aircraft back later this year, or in 2020.
It would certainly be much more logical to appease Star Alliance (if necessary) by having a brand new 787 or A350 delivered in Star Alliance colours (i.e. a plane you’ll actually keep), so we expect this short-term one is in some way related to an imminent end of lease for STU.
Thanks to A350XWB Production, we know that the fifth A350 Regional (9V-SHE) will deliver this month. The aircraft is now at the delivery centre awaiting a customer acceptance flight, which could happen in the next few days.
The following aircraft, 9V-SHF, has already flown and is currently being painted. It should join the fleet in May.
After that pair, an additional five A350-900s for Singapore Airlines (now confirmed as the Regional variant, registrations SHG to SHK) are already on the final assembly line in Toulouse and should be joining the fleet by September / October 2019.
Further A350 deliveries to SIA in 2019 will happen after that, however the variant remains unknown at this stage.
The A350 fleet in Singapore Airlines still looks to be on course to eclipse the Boeing 777 fleet later this year, to become the largest in the airline.
According to 787 Blogger, the next two Boeing 787-10 aircraft due to be delivered to SIA, 9V-SCJ and -SCK, have both been rolled out of the factory in Charleston but have yet to record their first flights.
In both cases, barring any changes of plan for delivery of this type due to ongoing engine issues, first flight should be this month with delivery later in April for -SCJ and in May for -SCK. That would bring SIA’s 787-10 fleet to 11 aircraft.
After -SCK there should be at least another four 787-10 deliveries to Singapore Airlines this year.
As usual you can see full details of each aircraft type in the Singapore Airlines fleet at the following links, including aircraft registrations specific to each configuration.
- Airbus A330
- Airbus A350 (3 versions)
- Airbus A380 (3 versions)
- Boeing 777-200 (2 versions)
- Boeing 777-200ER
- Boeing 777-300
- Boeing 777-300ER
- Boeing 787-10
If the seat types and routes interest you more – see our Seats Guide. Don’t forget we list the planned seat types for every Singapore Airlines service by flight number, so you can choose your next trip with confidence. See the following pages:
Stay tuned for the next fleet update in early May 2019.
(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)