(Cover Photo: BK Tan)
June was the month many Singapore Airlines fans had been waiting for with some anticipation, as it marked the introduction of the first of 14 Airbus A380s to be refitted with the latest 2017 Suites and Business Class cabins.
The aircraft has dropped in to the A380 Version 3 sub-fleet with identical total capacities by cabin class, flying a range of A380 Version 3 routes but crucially allowing twice daily Sydney flights with the latest seats, an arrangement which will continue until August when instead the focus shifts to India.
On the new deliveries front June saw one A350 Regional and one 787-10 arrive, while for withdrawals, temporarily at least, an extra 777-300ER is out of action for routine maintenance.
Let’s begin with the usual fleet overview. There were 131 registered aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet as reported by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on 30th June 2019.
As always, this monthly update looks at how the aircraft 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 5th July 2019.
|In maintenance, or delivered but yet to enter service:||-7|
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 126 planes at 5th July 2019, 119 of which are currently active.
Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 30th June 2019.
Singapore Airlines Fleet at 5th July 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 5th July 2019.
Differences between registered, in service and active aircraft in the table:
No longer in service (but still legally registered)
- A330-300 9V-STO has already stopped flying for return to lessor, onwards to Star Alliance carrier Brussels Airlines as OO-SFF.
- A330-300 9V-STV has already stopped flying for return to lessor. Onward operator unknown.
- 777-200 9V-SQJ has already stopped flying for disposal.
- 777-200 9V-SRP has already stopped flying, onwards to NokScoot as HS-XBF.
- 777-200 9V-SRQ has already stopped flying, onwards to NokScoot as HS-XBG.
Additional to the above, not currently active
- A350-900 9V-SHI has been delivered, but has yet to enter commercial service.
- A350-900 9V-SMD is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- A380-800 v1 9V-SKF is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- A380-800 v2 9V-SKT is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- 777-300ER 9V-SWO is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- 777-300ER 9V-SWP is undergoing maintenance in Singapore.
- 787-10 9V-SCD is grounded in Singapore due to Rolls-Royce engine issues.
Changes this month
Since June 2019 (and since the CAAS database at 31st May 2019) the following changes have been recorded:
- 9V-SSE re-entered service with a flight to Bali on 8th June after a two week maintenance period. As we expected, this 4-year old plane was too new to be de-leased.
- The registered A330 fleet stands at 18 aircraft, with 16 in service and active.
- 9V-SMB had a mini maintenance check, out of service from 8th June to 14th June.
- 9V-SMD entered routine maintenance at Changi on 28th June after a flight from Munich.
- 9V-SMO had a mini maintenance check, out of service from 10th June to 16th June.
- The registered A350-900 fleet stands at 21, with 20 active.
Airbus A350-900 Regional
- 9V-SHH, delivered in early June, entered commercial service to Brisbane on 15th June.
- 9V-SHI was delivered on 29th June but has yet to enter commercial service (it is rostered to fly to Brisbane tonight, 5th July).
- The registered A350-900 Regional fleet is now 9, with 8 active.
- No changes, with 7 aircraft registered and active.
- 9V-SKF entered routine maintenance at Changi on 21st June after a flight from Frankfurt.
- 9V-SKI re-entered service to London on 4th July after a six week maintenance period.
- 9V-SKS re-entered service to Sydney on 20th June after a maintenance and cabin refit period lasting over seven months in total (previously Version 2, now a Version 3 aircraft).
- Currently 19 aircraft registered, 19 in service and 17 active.
- No changes, with 8 aircraft registered and 5 active.
- No changes, with 5 aircraft registered and active.
- No changes, with 5 aircraft registered and active.
- 9V-SWN re-entered service to Beijing on 29th June after a two month maintenance period. Unusually, it hasn’t flown since returning to Singapore later that same afternoon, some six days ago, so we’ll keep an eye on this one as it seems something may be amiss.
- 9V-SWO entered routine maintenance at Changi on 17th June after a flight from Copenhagen.
- 9V-SWP entered routine maintenance at Changi on 27th June after a flight from Hong Kong.
- Currently 27 aircraft registered, with 25 active (assuming SWN is active at this stage).
- 9V-SCI, grounded since early April due to Rolls-Royce engine issues, re-entered service to Hong Kong on 19th June, following a short test flight.
- 9V-SCL, legally delivered and registered to Singapore Airlines in early June, flew its delivery flight to Changi landing on 25th June. It entered commercial service on 27th June to Hong Kong.
- Currently 12 aircraft registered, and 11 active.
The first A380 refit is finally in service
After more than seven months out of service, 9V-SKS finally returned to flying on 20th June 2019 to Sydney, allowing Singapore Airlines to ‘double down’ each day on the route with the new 2017 cabin products.
The extra Sydney flight is a stop-gap though, later this summer the extra plane will support permanent daily flights to and from Mumbai, after a one month stint on the Delhi route.
The new aircraft has the same cabin seating totals by cabin class as the other A380 Version 3 planes, allowing it to easily slot into the planned schedules anywhere the other Version 3 aircraft are flying, so it is not dedicated to any particular route.
While the Suites, Business Class and Premium Economy Class cabins are identical on this refitted aircraft, there are some slight configuration differences in Economy Class (despite the identical total number of Economy Class seats).
If you are looking to secure a refitted aircraft on your flight it’s not easy though, Singapore Airlines is loading the regular seat map (left) on all A380 Version 3 flights until online check-in opens 48 hours before, at which time the flights operated by SKS revert to the modified Economy Class seat map (right).
Even then, a substitution is still possible.
We are keen to see if the refitted aircraft has any major changes in the Suites cabin, as there were identified design shortcomings here that SIA suggested would be addressed, but after two weeks of operation we’ve yet to hear of a single difference.
We think we would have heard from passengers by now if anything fundamental had changed, so it’s likely the door alignment and lack of buddy dining issues remain.
9V-SKT is the next aircraft being refitted. Already it has been out of service for five months but there are no new routes confirmed until the daily A380 Tokyo flight swaps to the new configuration in January 2020, as we announced yesterday.
At this rate, it is now completely impossible for the refit work to be completed by the end of 2020 as originally planned, since it would require almost a dozen planes to be finished in that year alone, requiring several aircraft to be out of operation simultaneously.
SIA can afford neither the hangar capacity nor the aircraft downtime to support such a project. Our estimate is now 2021/22 at the earliest for all 13 remaining older aircraft to be refitted.
The 787-10 fleet is returning to strength
Some good news for the airline with another new 787 delivery and the return of 9V-SCI into service only one aircraft, 9V-SCD, remains out of action owing to the Rolls-Royce engine issues.
Singapore Airlines is obviously confident in the fleet, making a relatively short term schedule change to the Shanghai route earlier this week with a daily 787-10 flight on that relatively long flight on a daily basis from 1st August 2019, without any service reductions elsewhere for the Dreamliner fleet.
The situation isn’t completely resolved yet of course. There is no news of when 9V-SCD may return to flying (last seen parked in the cargo area minus both engines), and 9V-SCG took an eight day break from flying from 20th to 28th June, presumably for inspections and/or engine replacement as parts arrive from Rolls-Royce.
The good news though is that the worst appears to be over.
We have heard on the grapevine that there may be a ‘crunch point’ coming in late 2019, owing to a large swathe of the world fleet of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines reaching their ‘cycle limit’ around the same time (in relation to the High Pressure Turbine issue), so it remains to be seen if SIA 787-10 operations will be further affected down the line.
Upcoming fleet changes
We summarised the latest analyst briefing to SIA investors two months ago, outlining the fleet development plan to 2020. Here’s a recap of the numbers, though in this case we have changed the starting point to reflect the in-service fleet at today’s date and taken account of fleet movements in the current financial year that have already occurred.
|Aircraft Type||Passenger Fleet Totals|
|5 Jul ’19||Leaving||Joining||31 Mar ’20|
|A350-900 Regional||9||+ 6||15|
|All Types||126||– 16||+ 14||124|
The fleet development plan is subject to change.
As you can see there are still an additional 8 A330s, 4 777-200s and 4 777-200ERs set to leave the fleet between now and March 2020, in addition to those already listed as having left service.
In addition to 9V-STO and 9V-STV, which are already leaving, we still expect the following departures this financial year:
- 9V-STU – leaving approximately July 2019, so sometime this month in theory
- 9V-STY – leaving approximately September 2019
- 9V-STZ – TBC
There are still five others leaving with registrations yet to be announced (probably the rest of the older ST series, and one of the SS series, though that’s purely a guess on our part – it will depend on individual lease agreements).
With the delivery of 9V-SHI in late June, only one more regional variant is due in the near future, 9V-SHJ, which is currently in the paint hangar (awaiting first flight) and probably won’t deliver until September.
There are still five ‘standard’ configuration 3-class A350 aircraft due this year:
- 9V-SMV (actually first flew in late June and so should deliver in August, i.e. before -SHJ, despite being out of production sequence)