Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines Fleet: May 2020

SQ A380s ASP (Steve Strike)

A second batch of Singapore Airlines aircraft were flown to long-term storage last month, including four of the carrier’s flagship Airbus A380s. With only a skeleton passenger and cargo flying network, we revisit our list of active and stored aircraft in the fleet during May 2020.

Less than half the fleet is now flying, with the airline keeping 59 Airbus A350s, Boeing 777-300 / -300ERs and Boeing 787-10s active over the last few weeks, as five SIA aircraft types remain firmly out of service, including all Airbus A330s and Airbus A380s.

Meanwhile in a trading update on 8th May 2020, the airline confirmed that it is in negotiations with Airbus and Boeing to ‘adjust’ its forthcoming aircraft deliveries.

Headline numbers

Here are the Singapore Airlines passenger fleet totals at 8th May 2020.

CAAS Database: 130
For disposal: -3
In Service: 127
In maintenance / stored: -68
Active: 59

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 8th May 2020, 59 of which are currently active.

Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 30th April 2020.

Singapore Airlines Fleet at 8th May 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 14
A350-900 Regional
!A359.png(full details)
15
15 9
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 3
777-300ER
!B773.png(full details)
27 27 18
787-10
!B78X.png(full details)
15 15 15
Total 130 127 59

Correct at 8th May 2020.

Five aircraft types in the Singapore Airlines fleet remain in storage this month and are not currently being flown 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 (with registration 9H-HFF), though it currently remains registered to SIA.
  • 777-200 9V-SQJ has already stopped flying for disposal.
  • 777-200 9V-SRM has already stopped flying for disposal.

Changes since our last update

Since April 2020 (and since the CAAS database at 31st March 2020) the following changes have been recorded:

Airbus A380-800

  • 9V-SKT was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 26th April 2020.
  • 9V-SKW was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 26th April 2020.
  • 9V-SKY was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 26th April 2020.
  • 9V-SKZ was relocated to long-term storage in Alice Springs on 26th April 2020.

More aircraft fly to Alice Springs

The big news this month was the relocation of four Singapore Airlines Airbus A380s to long-term aircraft storage at APAS in Alice Springs, Australia.

SQ 4 A380 Alice
A380s on their way to Alice Springs. (Image: Flightradar24)

These were the largest aircraft ever to land at the remote Northern Territories airport, and joined three of the airline’s Boeing 777-200ERs flown there in early April.

Here’s a video from Chris Tangey, who filmed the final aircraft (9V-SKZ) landing that morning.

x

It certainly kicks up a lot of dust (imagine what the first one was like!).

SQ and MI at ASP (Steve Strike)
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir aircraft stored at Alice Springs. (Photo: Steve Strike)

Two more Scoot Airbus A320s also flew to Alice Springs on the same day, joining another pair previously relocated, while two NokScoot Boeing 777-200ERs joined separately on 29th April 2020. In total the stored fleet at Alice Springs across the SIA and Scoot brands now comprises 19 aircraft:

SIA and Scoot-branded aircraft
stored in Alice Springs
Airline Aircraft Total
Singapore_Airlines Airbus A380 4
Boeing 777-200ER 3
SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX 8 6
Scoot Airbus A320 4
Nok_Scoot Boeing 777-200ER 2

The NokScoot Boeing 777-200ERs were former Singapore Airlines aircraft:

  • HS-XBB (formerly 9V-SRG with SIA then 9V-OTF with Scoot)
  • HS-XBC (formerly 9V-SRH with SIA)

We expect that additional SIA aircraft may be set to fly to Alice Springs this month, potentially the other three Airbus A380 Version 3 models (9V-SKS, -SKU and -SKV). There seems to be the right amount of space already set aside for three additional A380s.

SQ A380s 3 more (Steve Strike)
Remaining A380 Version 3 aircraft may already have a parking space reserved. Note that one A380 is parked out of sight in this picture, to the bottom left of the two Scoot A320s. (Photo: Steve Strike)

It would be logical for Singapore Airlines to preserve all its A380 Version 3 aircraft in Alice Springs, as these are likely the ones they will wish to use long-term when demand recovers.

Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage in Alice Springs is expanding its capacity to house at least 70 aircraft.

The flying network

The significant reduction in services due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Singapore Airlines operating a skeleton passenger service to only 10 Asia-Pacific cities, plus a handful of US and Europe connections.

SQ Routemap Jun
(click to enlarge)
SQ Routemap Jun US
(click to enlarge)

Since our last monthly fleet update, this limited passenger flying programme has been extended to at least 30th June 2020.

Fun fact: For every passenger flight operated by Singapore Airlines at the moment there are two additional cargo-only flights using passenger aircraft, covering a much wider network of cities.

‘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 59 Singapore Airlines passenger aircraft still flying?

Take an A350 Regional (9V-SHF) 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 20th April: SQ910/917 Manila (pax)
  • Sat 25th April: SQ600/609 Seoul (pax)
  • Sun 3rd May: SQ802/807 Beijing (cargo)
  • Wed 6th May: 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 around 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 2 (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 just under 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.

Fun fact: Storing an Airbus A330 takes a team of engineers 400 man hours, with tasks ranging from taping up the windows, packing the landing gears and engines and covering the internal furnishings. (Source: Brussels Airlines)

The following video from Brussels Airlines is fascinating from an AvGeek standpoint and illustrates the sort of procedures that need to be followed.

It’s worth noting that, according to our sources, the vast majority of scheduled time-limited maintenance tasks must continue on all aircraft until they are officially ‘stored’ in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Problem is, some newer aircraft (like the Airbus A350) might not even have these instructions published because long-term storage was not perceived as a possibility this early in their life cycle.

The storage report: May 2020

Here’s how the fleet activity looked on 7th May 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 remain stored in Singapore. None have flown for well over a month.

!A330v3 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-STC SIN 2 Apr 20 35
9V-SSC SIN 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SSD SIN 31 Mar 20 37
9V-SSE SIN 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SSF SIN 13 Mar 20 55
9V-SSG SIN 23 Mar 20 45
9V-SSH SIN 28 Mar 20 40
9V-SSI SIN 25 Nov 19 164

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

Airbus A350-900

12 of the airline’s 26-strong 3-class long-haul A350-900 fleet aircraft are stored in Singapore. That’s two more than when we updated the list last month, with 9V-SMM and 9V-SMR joining those that haven’t flown for over two weeks.

The other 14 aircraft are in ‘active storage’, continuing to fly 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 43
9V-SMB SIN 29 Mar 20 39
9V-SMC SIN 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SMD SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SME SIN 15 Mar 20 53
9V-SMF SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SMG SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SMH SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SMI SIN 3 Apr 20 34
9V-SMJ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SMK SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SML SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SMM SIN 20 Apr 20 17
9V-SMN SIN 24 Apr 20 13
9V-SMO SIN 1 May 20 6
9V-SMP SIN 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SMQ SIN 29 Apr 20 8
9V-SMR SIN 23 Apr 20 14
9V-SMS SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SMT SIN 2 May 20 5
9V-SMU SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SMV SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SMW SIN 5 May 20 2
9V-SMY SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SMZ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SJA SIN 6 May 20 1

Airbus A350-900 Regional

6 of the airline’s 15 Airbus A350-900 Regional fleet aircraft are stored in Singapore, 1 more than when we updated the list last month (9V-SHM left service), having not flown for over 6 weeks now (except SHM, which hasn’t flown for 3 weeks).

The other 9 aircraft are in ‘active storage’, flying pretty much once per week.

!A359R Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SHA SIN 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SHB SIN 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SHC SIN 20 Mar 20 48
9V-SHD SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SHE SIN 26 Apr 20 11
9V-SHF SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SHG SIN 25 Apr 20 12
9V-SHH SIN 22 Mar 20 46
9V-SHI SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SHJ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SHK SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SHL SIN 28 Apr 20 9
9V-SHM SIN 18 Apr 20 19
9V-SHN SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SHO SIN 1 May 20 6

Airbus A350-900 ULR

All the airline’s 7 Airbus A350-900 ULR aircraft remain stored in Singapore, having not flown at all since March 2020.

!A359 ULR Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SGA SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SGB SIN 22 Mar 20 46
9V-SGC SIN 30 Mar 20 38
9V-SGD SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SGE SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SGF SIN 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SGG SIN 23 Mar 20 45

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

Airbus A380-800

Four of the airline’s A380 Version 3 aircraft were relocated to long-term storage at Alice Springs at the end of April 2020, with the other 15 aircraft stored at Changi.

No revenue flights with the A380s have been flown since March 2020, and they are not being used in the current schedule through 30th June 2020.

!A388 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SKF SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SKG SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SKH SIN 22 Mar 20 46
9V-SKI SIN 20 Mar 20 48
9V-SKJ SIN 20 Mar 20 48
9V-SKK SIN 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SKL SIN 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SKM SIN 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SKN SIN 15 Oct 19 205
9V-SKP SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SKQ SIN 26 Mar 20 42
9V-SKR SIN 19 Mar 20 49
9V-SKS SIN 12 Mar 20 56
9V-SKT ASP 18 Mar 20 50
9V-SKU SIN 25 Mar 20 43
9V-SKV SIN 28 Mar 20 40
9V-SKW ASP 26 Mar 20 42
9V-SKY ASP 27 Mar 20 41
9V-SKZ ASP 30 Mar 20 38

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

Boeing 777-200

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

!B772 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SQN SIN 20 Mar 20 48

The aircraft flew a test flight on 1st May 2020, and is likely for disposal.

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 is likely for disposal.

!B772ER Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SVB ASP 17 Mar 20 51
9V-SVC ASP 19 Mar 20 49
9V-SVE ASP 21 Mar 20 47
9V-SVM SIN 29 Feb 20 68

Fun fact: Singapore Airlines has now removed both the Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-200ER from the ‘Our Fleet’ page on its website. That doesn’t necessarily mean these aircraft won’t fly for the airline again though – SilkAir’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft have also been removed from that section.

Boeing 777-300

9V-SYF has joined 9V-SYI in storage at Changi this month, reducing the number of active Boeing 777-300 aircraft from 4 to 3. Those in in ‘active storage’ are mostly flying cargo-only services, with occasional passenger flights.

!B773 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SYF SIN 10 Apr 20 27
9V-SYH SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SYI SIN 22 Mar 20 46
9V-SYJ SIN 29 Apr 20 8
9V-SYL SIN 6 May 20 1

Boeing 777-300ER

9 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs are stored at Changi, having not flown for over a month in most 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 39
9V-SWB SIN 24 Mar 20 44
9V-SWD SIN 19 Mar 20 49
9V-SWE SIN 5 May 20 2
9V-SWF SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SWG SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SWH SIN 25 Apr 20 12
9V-SWI SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SWJ SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SWK SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SWL SIN 5 May 20 2
9V-SWM SIN 2 May 20 5
9V-SWN SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SWO SIN 2 Apr 20 35
9V-SWP SIN 29 Mar 20 39
9V-SWQ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SWR SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SWS SIN 4 Apr 20 33
9V-SWT SIN 23 Mar 20 45
9V-SWU SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SWV SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SWW SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SWY SIN 23 Apr 20 14
9V-SWZ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SNA SIN 4 May 20 3
9V-SNB SIN 16 Mar 20 52
9V-SNC SIN 6 May 20 1

Boeing 787-10

All 15 of the airline’s Boeing 787-10s are still flying in active storage mode.

!B78X Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SCA SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCB SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCC SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCD SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCE SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCF SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCG SIN 6 May 20 0
9V-SCH SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCI SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCJ SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCK SIN 30 Apr 20 7
9V-SCL SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCM SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCN SIN 6 May 20 1
9V-SCO SIN 6 May 20 1

This remains 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 Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Perth still supporting regular flights but only with belly hold cargo.

Cargo is now big business

Last week we outlined in our article covering the airline’s current cargo-only operations how significant this part of the business has now become for SIA

“On the cargo front, the significant reduction in belly hold capacity globally has resulted in strong demand for freighter services. We have accordingly focused our efforts on maximising freighter utilisation, and continuing to supplement freighter capacity with the deployment of passenger aircraft operating cargo-only flights to meet the demand from global supply chains.” Singapore Airlines trading update, 8th May 2020

As our recent analysis showed, there are around 80 departures per week from Changi flying with passenger aircraft utilising only belly hold cargo (no passengers), more than twice the 34 departures per week flying the skeleton passenger operation.

The airline is focusing these operations using passenger aircraft with the highest underfloor cargo capacity – the Boeing 777-300 / -300ER, Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350 (non-ULR).

SQ Cargo 747 Nose (Singapore Airlines)
Several passenger aircraft are supplementing the airline’s Boeing 747-400 Freighters (pictured) in the effort to satisfy demand for cargo-only operations. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

That’s in addition to the busy global schedule being flown by the airline’s dedicated Boeing 747-400 Freighter aircraft.

Future aircraft deliveries

The SIA Group still has large order books with Airbus and Boeing for its fleet modernisation and replacement strategy over the next few years. These comprise:

  • 30 Airbus A320neo (for Scoot)
  • 6 Airbus A321neo (for Scoot)
  • 19 Airbus A350-900
  • 31 Boeing 737 MAX 8 (for SilkAir)
  • 20 Boeing 777-9
  • 3 Boeing 787-8 (for Scoot)
  • 2 Boeing 787-9 (for Scoot)
  • 29 Boeing 787-10

That’s a very large commitment to 140 additional new aircraft across the three group airlines over the coming years, representing a significant capital expenditure.

In late April 2020 the airline revealed it was setting aside S$3.3 billion of the S$8.8 billion raised through the recent Rights issue for “aircraft purchases and aircraft related payments”.

“We are in negotiations with aircraft manufacturers to adjust our delivery stream for existing aircraft orders, in view of prevailing market conditions, balancing that with our longer term fleet renewal programme” Singapore Airlines trading update, 8th May 2020

At least 12 Airbus A350s and 3 Boeing 787-10s alone were originally scheduled to join the fleet during this financial year. We wouldn’t be surprised to see those totals more than halved, given what other airlines seem to be negotiating with the manufacturers.

SQ A350 Pushback (Alan Wilson)
The bulk of new aircraft deliveries this year was scheduled to be for the Airbus A350, though far fewer are now expected to arrive than first planned. (Photo: Alan Wilson)

Next week Singapore Airlines will release its full year analyst briefing, typically including its fleet development plan for the current 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.

We’ll be sure to report on the changes but don’t be surprised to see the retirement of older aircraft, with the delivery pace of new jets likely to be throttled as mentioned.

We may even see changes (i.e. reductions) to aircraft order totals, depending on the contractural terms / penalties and whether any negotiation on these is successful.

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 June 2020.

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

(Cover Photo: Steve Strike)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: