Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines Fleet: April 2020

In a slight change to our usual monthly fleet update, we focus on which Singapore Airlines aircraft are still flying in April 2020, given the ongoing COVID-19 cancellations

SQ A350ULR Zoom (Singapore Airlines)

As the first SIA aircraft are flown to long-term storage and the COVID-19 pandemic produces a skeleton flying network, this month we take a slightly different angle on our regular Singapore Airlines fleet update, focusing in detail on the latest trend across the industry – aircraft storage.

With five SIA aircraft types taken out of service altogether this month, including all Airbus A330s and Airbus A380s, the interesting fact is that among many other aircraft types the majority of aircraft are still flying.

We also take a look at why the airline is favouring planes with the biggest cargo holds in the current climate.

ADVERTISEMENT

Headline numbers

Here are the Singapore Airlines passenger fleet totals at 19th April 2020.

CAAS Database: 130
For disposal: -3
In Service: 127
In maintenance / stored: -64
Active: 63

The official registered aircraft data in combination with analysis of actual flight movements over the last few weeks allows us to determine the actual ‘in service’ fleet (available to the airline) of 127 planes at 19th April 2020, 63 of which are currently active.

Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 31st March 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT

Singapore Airlines Fleet at 19th April 2020

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 or cargo flights (‘Active’).

Type
Registered In Service Active
A330-300
!A330v3.png
(full details)
9
8 0
A350-900
!A359.png
(full details)
26 26 16
A350-900 Regional
!A359.png
(full details)
15
15 10
A350-900 ULR
!A359.png
(full details)
7 7 0
A380-800 v1
!A388.png
(full details)
6 6 0
A380-800 v2
!A388.png
(full details)
6 6 0
A380-800 v3
!A388.png
(full details)
7 7 0
777-200
!B772.png
(full details)
3 1 0
777-200ER
!B772.png
(full details)
4 4 0
777-300
!B773.png
(full details)
5 5 4
777-300ER
!B773.png
(full details)
27 27 18
787-10
!B78X.png
(full details)
15 15 15
Total 130 127 63

Correct at 19th April 2020.

As you can see, five aircraft types in the SIA fleet have entered storage and are not currently being used at all:

  • Airbus A330
  • Airbus A350 ULR
  • Airbus A380
  • Boeing 777-200
  • Boeing 777-200ER

Differences between registered and in service aircraft in the table above:

No longer in service (but still legally registered)

  • A330-300 9V-SSB has already stopped flying for return to lessor. Onward operator is HiFly Malta.
  • 777-200 9V-SQJ has already stopped flying for disposal.
  • 777-200 9V-SRM has already stopped flying for disposal.

In maintenance or stored

A typically short list of aircraft not active due to maintenance, including brand new planes that haven’t yet entered commercial service, usually makes up a short list in our monthly updates.

SQ A380 SIAEC
A few aircraft in the hangar usually make up our short list of ‘inactive’ aircraft in the SIA fleet at each monthly update. (Photo: SIAEC)

That’s all changed given the significant reduction in services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Singapore Airlines now storing a large number of its aircraft while it runs a skeleton passenger service to only 10 Asia-Pacific cities, plus a handful of US and Europe connections.

SQ Map

SQ Map EURUS

The airline is also mounting a number of cargo-only flights using its passenger aircraft.

The other big news this month was the relocation of three of the airline’s Boeing 777-200ER aircraft to long-term storage in Alice Springs, Australia. There they now reside with all 6 SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and a pair of Scoot Airbus A320s.

We understand further SIA aircraft are set to follow, with Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage in Alice Springs expanding its capacity to house at least 70 aircraft.

TR A320 ASP (Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage)
A tigerair Airbus stored at Alice Springs. (Photo: Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage)
ADVERTISEMENT

‘Parked: flight-ready’

Many of you will no doubt recall Singapore Airlines’ announcement that it was slashing its capacity by 96% and in turn only keeping 9 of its SIA and SilkAir aircraft flying in the month of April 2020.

Why then are 63 Singapore Airlines passenger aircraft still flying?

Take an A350 Regional (9V-SHE) for example. This aircraft, like others in the A350 Regional fleet, would typically fly around 18 flights per week. In the last three weeks however it has only flown:

  • Mon 30th March: SQ802/807 Beijing (cargo)
  • Mon 6th April: SQ910/917 Manila (pax)
  • Mon 13th April: SQ802/807 Beijing (cargo)
  • Sun 19th April: SQ802/807 Beijing (cargo)

That’s 8 flights in 3 weeks, when the aircraft would typically have flown over 50 flights in the same time period. As you can see, the aircraft is flying pretty much once every 7 days.

This does not require it to undergo costly storage preparations – it’s relatively normal for an aircraft not to fly for a week and only a few inexpensive precautions need to be taken if the operator chooses, like some instrument sensor covers which are easily installed and removed.

Effectively, it’s cheaper to fly six A350 Regionals once a week in this parked or ‘active storage’ mode than it is to fly one A350 Regional every day and put the other five in full storage.

SN A320s Stored (Brussels Airlines)
Storing aircraft is about more than just covering the engines and chocking the wheels. Hundreds of maintenance actions are required, plus continuous routine checks. (Photo: Brussels Airlines)

It also provides additional operational flexibility to keep around half the fleet in this state of readiness. Aircraft still suffer technical problems even if they only fly once a week, so you have plenty of others at your disposal to use if and when that happens.

It also means SIA can ramp up the flying programme quickly as demand recovers in the coming months; around half its fleet is in operationally-ready state at Changi without the need for time consuming (and again, costly) ‘de-storage’ maintenance actions.

Which aircraft are stored?

Here’s how the fleet activity looked on 18th April 2020, which gives us an indication of which aircraft are stored (last flew > 14 days ago), compared to those in ‘active storage’ (last flew more recently).

Last flew > 60 days ago
Last flew 14-59 days ago
Last flew < 14 days ago

‘Last flew’ dates relate to the aircraft’s last revenue passenger or cargo-only flight.

Airbus A330-300

All the airline’s available A330 aircraft are stored in Singapore. None have flown in the last two weeks, with only one aircraft making a single flight in the month of April.

!A330v3 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew