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.

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.

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)

‘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 Days ago
9V-STC SIN 2 Apr 20 16
9V-SSC SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SSD SIN 31 Mar 20 18
9V-SSE SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SSF SIN 13 Mar 20 36
9V-SSG SIN 23 Mar 20 26
9V-SSH SIN 28 Mar 20 21
9V-SSI SIN 25 Nov 19 145

Note that 9V-SSI is still in maintenance at Changi after sustaining tail damage during a landing accident in November 2019.

Airbus A350-900

10 of the airline’s 26-strong 3-class long-haul A350-900 fleet aircraft are stored in Singapore, having not flown for over two weeks.

The other 16 are in ‘active storage’, flying an average of around 2 flights per week (one return service each) since the start of April 2020.

!A359 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SMA SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SMB SIN 29 Mar 20 20
9V-SMC SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SMD SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SME SIN 15 Mar 20 34
9V-SMF SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SMG SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SMH SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SMI SIN 3 Apr 20 15
9V-SMJ SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SMK SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SML SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SMM SIN 13 Apr 20 5
9V-SMN SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SMO SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SMP SIN 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SMQ SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SMR SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SMS SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SMT SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SMU SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SMV SIN 13 Apr 20 5
9V-SMW SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SMY SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SMZ SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SJA SIN 15 Apr 20 3

Airbus A350-900 Regional

5 of the airline’s 15 Airbus A350-900 Regional fleet aircraft are stored in Singapore, having not flown for over two weeks (in fact, it’s been almost four weeks in all cases).

The other 10 are in ‘active storage’, flying pretty much once per week.

!A359R Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SHA SIN 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SHB SIN 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SHC SIN 20 Mar 20 29
9V-SHD SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SHE SIN 13 Apr 20 5
9V-SHF SIN 13 Apr 20 5
9V-SHG SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SHH SIN 22 Mar 20 27
9V-SHI SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SHJ SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SHK SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SHL SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SHM SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SHN SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SHO SIN 17 Apr 20 1

Airbus A350-900 ULR

All the airline’s 7 Airbus A350-900 ULR aircraft are stored in Singapore, having not flown at all in April and in some cases also sitting idle during the last week in March.

!A359 ULR Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SGA SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SGB SIN 22 Mar 20 27
9V-SGC SIN 30 Mar 20 19
9V-SGD SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SGE SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SGF SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SGG SIN 23 Mar 20 26

Non-stop SIA flights to and from Los Angeles this month are being operated by 3-class long-haul Airbus A350-900s, which have so far coped with the non-stop westbound LAX-SIN flight against the headwinds without issue, probably due to low payload allowing more fuel to be carried.

Fun fact: 17 hours 20 minutes is so far the longest LAX-SIN flight time clocked in this month, by A350-900 9V-SJA on 8th April 2020.

Airbus A380-800

No point in splitting the A380-800s into V1/2/3, since all 19 are stored at Changi having not flown since March 2020.

!A388 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SKF SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SKG SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SKH SIN 22 Mar 20 27
9V-SKI SIN 20 Mar 20 29
9V-SKJ SIN 20 Mar 20 29
9V-SKK SIN 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SKL SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SKM SIN 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SKN SIN 15 Oct 19 186
9V-SKP SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SKQ SIN 26 Mar 20 23
9V-SKR SIN 19 Mar 20 30
9V-SKS SIN 12 Mar 20 37
9V-SKT SIN 18 Mar 20 31
9V-SKU SIN 25 Mar 20 24
9V-SKV SIN 28 Mar 20 21
9V-SKW SIN 26 Mar 20 23
9V-SKY SIN 27 Mar 20 22
9V-SKZ SIN 30 Mar 20 19

9V-SKN remains in maintenance and probable (almost certain) cabin refit in the hangar; it has now not flown for over 6 months.

Note: Original schedules in GDS at 2nd April showed the three times weekly SQ638/637 Tokyo service using the A380v3 from 15th April 2020, however this flight has since been reallocated to the 787-10 all month.

Boeing 777-200

The single Boeing 777-200 available to SIA, 9V-SQN, is stored at Changi having not flown since mid-March.

!B772 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SQN SIN 20 Mar 20 29

Boeing 777-200ER

3 of the airline’s Boeing 777-200ERs are stored in Alice Springs, likely to be a long-term arrangement, while its sole remaining aircraft (9V-SVM) is still in Changi and last flew in February. It’s likely for disposal.

!B772ER Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SVB ASP 17 Mar 20 32
9V-SVC ASP 19 Mar 20 30
9V-SVE ASP 21 Mar 20 28
9V-SVM SIN 29 Feb 20 49

Boeing 777-300

1 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300s is stored at Changi (9V-SYI), while the other four are in active storage flying a mixture of passenger flights like Ho Chi Minh and cargo-only services like Sydney.

!B773 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SYF SIN 10 Apr 20 8
9V-SYH SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SYI SIN 22 Mar 20 27
9V-SYJ SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SYL SIN 17 Apr 20 1

Boeing 777-300ER

9 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs are stored at Changi, having not flown for at least two weeks (close to a month in some cases), while the remaining 18 are in active storage.

Again these are flying a mixture of the skeleton passenger service, plus cargo-only flights.

!B773ER Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SWA SIN 29 Mar 20 20
9V-SWB SIN 24 Mar 20 25
9V-SWD SIN 19 Mar 20 30
9V-SWE SIN 13 Apr 20 5
9V-SWF SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SWG SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SWH SIN 11 Apr 20 7
9V-SWI SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SWJ SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SWK SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SWL SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SWM SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SWN SIN 10 Apr 20 8
9V-SWO SIN 2 Apr 20 16
9V-SWP SIN 29 Mar 20 20
9V-SWQ SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SWR SIN 11 Apr 20 7
9V-SWS SIN 4 Apr 20 14
9V-SWT SIN 23 Mar 20 26
9V-SWU SIN 8 Apr 20 10
9V-SWV SIN 14 Apr 20 4
9V-SWW SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SWY SIN 14 Apr 20 4
9V-SWZ SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SNA SIN 20 Mar 20 29
9V-SNB SIN 16 Mar 20 33
9V-SNC SIN 16 Apr 20 2

Interestingly this month Boeing 777-300ERs flying to Zurich and Frankfurt are staying overnight on arrival at these European ports rather than the usual sequence of turning around and returning to Singapore the same day.

This allows the same crew to operate the outbound and inbound service, with minimal time overseas.

Boeing 787-10

All 15 of the airline’s Boeing 787-10s are still flying in active storage mode. They have all operated services in the last week.

!B78X Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SCA SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCB SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SCC SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCD SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCE SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SCF SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCG SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SCH SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCI SIN 18 Apr 20 0
9V-SCJ SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SCK SIN 17 Apr 20 1
9V-SCL SIN 15 Apr 20 3
9V-SCM SIN 12 Apr 20 6
9V-SCN SIN 16 Apr 20 2
9V-SCO SIN 18 Apr 20 0

This is by far the busiest fleet in the airline at the moment, with each aircraft flying about three return flights per week on average, close to a third of the type’s usual programme.

It’s largely due to services like Melbourne and Perth still supporting regular flights but only with belly hold cargo. Additional flights to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Guangzhou are also using the 787-10 for cargo-only.

Cargo is king

With cargo suddenly becoming SIA’s largest revenue stream given the almost total collapse of passenger demand this month, it’s capacity beneath the cabin floor which is now forefront in the airline’s mind when choosing which aircraft to allocate, particularly on flights where it is not flying any passengers at all like Melbourne, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Singapore Airlines Fleet
Underfloor cargo capacity
Aircraft Type Cargo Capacity
(bulk loading)
A330-300 158.4 cu m
A350-900* 172.4 cu m
A380-800 175.2 cu m
777-200 / -200ER 150.9 cu m
777-300 / -300ER 201.6 cu m
787-10 191.4 cu m

* Except A350-900 ULR

As you can see Singapore Airlines is focusing its continued operations on aircraft types with the three largest underfloor cargo capacities, highlighted in green. That’s the ‘bigger Boeings’ and the A350-900.

SQ 787 SCA Delivery (Paul Schmid)
The Boeing 787-10 has a remarkable cargo capacity, almost matching that of the Boeing 777-300. (Photo: Paul Schmid)

Note that while the A380 has marginally more cargo hold space than the A350-900, the superjumbo burns around 11 tonnes of fuel per hour compared with 5.5 tonnes of fuel per hour for an A350, making it completely unsuited to efficient cargo-only operations in the current climate.

As Will Horton of Forbes said in his excellent analysis on this very topic:

“Guiding Singapore Airlines’ fleet decision appears to be not passengers but cargo: its Boeing aircraft have higher cargo capacity than its Airbus models.” Will Horton, Senior Contributor Aerospace & Defense, Forbes

Other changes since our last update

Since March 2020 (and since the CAAS database at 29th February 2020) the following more mundane changes have been recorded:

Airbus A330-300

  • 9V-SSA, which stopped flying on 2nd November 2019, has been de-registered. The aircraft joined Air Canada as C-GOFW on 4th April 2020, but has yet to depart Changi.

Boeing 777-200

  • 9V-SQL, which stopped flying on 18th October 2019, has been de-registered.
  • 9V-SQN stopped flying on 20th Mar 2020 after a flight from Surabaya. It may not return to service.

Boeing 777-200ER

  • 9V-SVB was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 5th April 2020.
  • 9V-SVC was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 5th April 2020.
  • 9V-SVE was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 5th April 2020.

Upcoming fleet changes

Next month Singapore Airlines will release its half-year analyst briefing, including its fleet development plan for the financial year 2020/21 (April 2020 – March 2021).

It will be very interesting to see what they state here, given the significant financial and cashflow situation regarding the COVID-19 crisis, which has no clear end date nor accurate prediction on how demand will recover when it finally does end.

In next month’s fleet update we should be able to outline the group’s guidance on this, however we expect the retirement of older aircraft may be accelerated and the delivery pace of new jets is likely to be throttled.

A couple of things are almost certain:

  • The Airbus A330s will all be returned to lessors by late 2020 / early 2021 as their leases end. There is likely no scope to accelerate this due to financial penalties for breaking the leases early.
  • The Boeing 777-200s / -200ERs won’t fly for SIA again.
SQ A330 (Kentaro Iemoto)
It’ll be farewell to a few aircraft types in the SIA fleet over the coming year, including the A330s. (Photo: Kentaro Iemoto)

The Boeing 777-300s (non-ERs) might also be leaving sooner than planned. We heard 2021/22 was the aim for these aircraft departing, but it now seems like they won’t be needed long before that.

One good bit of news for most of our readers if that all transpires is that we’ll finally wave farewell to the angle-flat 2009 Regional Business Class seats.

Future aircraft deliveries

Singapore Airlines has the following aircraft on order, with approximate delivery dates provided where known.

Airbus A350-900
Outstanding orders as of 19th April 2020: 19
MSN Registration Configuration Delivery
436 9V-SHP Regional Jun 2020
439 9V-SHQ Regional Jul 2020
445 9V-SHR Regional Jul 2020
447 9V-??? TBC Aug 2020
460 9V-??? TBC Sep 2020
464 9V-??? TBC Sep 2020
469 9V-??? TBC Oct 2020
472 9V-??? TBC Oct 2020
475 9V-??? TBC Oct 2020
485 9V-??? TBC Nov 2020
502 9V-??? TBC Jan 2021
514 9V-??? TBC Feb 2021
Plus 7 additional deliveries thereafter

Delivery dates are estimated and therefore approximate.

As you can see there are 12 Airbus A350s due for delivery in the 2020/21 financial year, with potential for a 13th in March 2021 depending on unannounced delivery slots.

The first three of these arriving in June and July 2020 will be the Regional variant, confirmed by assigned registrations in the -SH series.

After that the variant selection has not yet been confirmed, with some aircraft likely to be in the 3-class long-haul layout (-SJ series).

SQ A350 MAN (Transport Pixels)
The bulk of new aircraft deliveries planned for SIA this year will be the Airbus A350. (Photo: Transport Pixels)

We’ll update the table in future monthly fleet updates once the variants are known, plus as potential delivery dates shift.

Boeing 787-10
Outstanding orders as of 19th April 2020: 29
MSN Registration Delivery
1000 9V-SCP Apr/May 2020
1068 9V-SCQ Sep 2020
1080 9V-SCR Oct 2020
Plus 26 additional deliveries thereafter

Delivery dates are estimated and therefore approximate.

The 1,000th Boeing 787-10 built (9V-SCP) is the next aircraft delivery for Singapore Airlines, due later this month or in early May 2020.

The aircraft wears “1000th 787 Dreamliner” titles near the nose (as we predicted it would, given the same treatment was given to the 1,000th 747). It’s hard to believe there are now 1,000 Boeing 787s in the world, especially in the current climate.

Fun fact: Only 570 Boeing 777-200 and -200ERs were ever built!

Gary Eaton put some shots of the new bird on Instagram, which you can click through below.

Given the fantastic cargo capacity of this aircraft (almost matching the Boeing 777-300) and its superior fuel burn, we’d like to think its delivery will not be delayed and it will still join the fleet as planned in the coming weeks.

By next month’s update it should be clear whether SIA has sought a postponement.

We don’t have visibility of the Boeing 787 delivery schedule beyond October 2020 at this stage, so there are potentially a few more slated to arrive in the 2020/21 financial year (our guess would be at least another three between November 2020 and March 2021).

Again this may now vary significantly depending on the COVID-19 situation, so do treat the dates as provisional.

Full details

As always 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.

If the seat types and routes interest you more – see our Seats Guide.

Stay tuned for the next fleet (and aircraft storage) update in May 2020.

As always, thanks to AIB Family Flights and 787 Blogger for their tireless work, which greatly assists our monthly updates.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

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