This month Singapore Airlines took its first new aircraft deliveries since February 2020, with not just one but four Airbus A350 Regionals winging their way from Toulouse in the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile another Airbus A330 was returned off lease and the operating schedule of revenue services occupied around half the passenger fleet, based on data for the last two weeks.
The airline continues to focus operation on its latest and most fuel efficient Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft types, with minimal Boeing 777 flying and other variants in either temporary or long-term storage.
That said, a few Airbus A380s have been reactivated for the airline’s latest on-ground activities, repurposed as restaurants and accommodating around 3,500 of the airline’s fans lucky enough to secure a ticket for the events running over two weekends.
In terms of the flying fleet though, five aircraft types remained firmly out of service in October, including all Airbus A330s and Airbus A380s.
Here are the Singapore Airlines passenger fleet totals at 25th October 2020.
|In maintenance / stored:
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 124 planes at 25th October 2020, 54 of which are currently active.
Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 30th September 2020.
Singapore Airlines Fleet at 25th October 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’).
Correct at 25th October 2020.
Here are the differences between the registered and in service fleet totals in the table above:
No longer in service (but still legally registered at 30th September)
- A330-300 9V-SSC was deregistered in early October 2020.
- 777-200 9V-SQJ has already stopped flying for disposal. Stored in Singapore.
- 777-200s 9V-SRF, -SRG, -SRH, -SRL, SRJ, SRP and SRQ are ex-NokScoot aircraft and re-joined the Singapore Airlines registered fleet in July and August 2020. They are all stored in Alice Springs and will not operate again for the airline. For eventual disposal.
- 777-200ERs 9V-SVB, -SVC and -SVE are all stored in Alice Springs and will not operate again for the airline. For eventual disposal.
Only five aircraft types remain in service with the airline, as shown in the table below outlining the number in use at each of our recent fleet update ‘snapshots’.
An aircraft is considered ‘active’ if it has flown at least one passenger or cargo-only flight in the last 14 days.
|SIA fleet activity timeline (2020)|
Almost all Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s are now in consistent use, while the deployment of Boeing 777-300s and -300ERs continues to be minimal based on recent weeks.
Here’s a graphical look at the active vs. stored fleet, including the average daily utilisation of the active aircraft during the last 14 days.
|Type||■ Active / □ Inactive||Average Daily Utilisation|
Utilisation of the single Boeing 777-300 in service increased again this month, starting at just 1.5 hours per day in August to 3.6 hours per day in September and 4.2 hours per day in October, as the aircraft (9V-SYJ) added regular Bangkok flights to its regular Yangon and Surabaya schedule.
The small number of active Boeing 777-300ERs continue to fly only a handful of times a week based on data from the last 14 days, mostly cargo-only services to and from Beijing, generating the lowest average daily utilisation of 1.6 hours.
Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s on the other hand are far busier, with the active aircraft in those fleets clocking up eight to nine hours per day on average, as they were in September.
All of these rates still fall short of usual daily utilisation for these aircraft however, in the order of 11-12 hours per day.
Five aircraft types in the Singapore Airlines fleet remain in storage this month and are not currently being flown at all, which has been the case since early April 2020:
- Airbus A330
- Airbus A350 ULR
- Airbus A380
- Boeing 777-200
- Boeing 777-200ER
Interestingly, despite the airline announcing reinstatement of the world’s longest passenger flight between Singapore and New York next month, the seven Airbus A350 ULRs in the fleet will remain in storage at Changi with 3-class Airbus A350s instead used for the service.
This will allow the airline to offer Economy Class on the route, also prioritising cargo while passenger volumes remain low, though overall the aircraft will be significantly weight restricted especially on the New York – Singapore flight.
Airbus A330-300 9V-SSC was deregistered in early October and returned to its lessor, San Francisco-based BBAM Aircraft Leasing & Management.
It is now registered in Guernsey and flew from Changi to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE) with registration 2-SSCA on 15th October 2020, where it will likely be stored.
The aircraft was delivered new to Singapore Airlines on 25th July 2014. It last flew passengers on 27th March 2020, from Surabaya to Singapore as SQ931, as the airline moved to almost completely shut down operations due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
After nearly eight months without any new aircraft deliveries, October 2020 was a relatively busy month with Singapore Airlines taking delivery of four new Airbus A350 Regional aircraft in the space of less than a week.
9V-SHP and -SHQ arrived at Changi on 16th October 2020, followed just five days later by 9V-SHR and -SHS on 21st October 2020.
These deliveries bring SIA’s total Airbus A350 fleet to 52 aircraft, by far the largest in the airline, 19 of which are in the regional configuration.
It’s not clear if SIA intends to bring these four aircraft into service anytime soon. At the time of writing they have not yet flown any revenue flights.Fun fact: These deliveries make Singapore Airlines the joint-largest operator of the Airbus A350 worldwide, with Qatar Airways also having 52 in its fleet.
Almost all of the airline’s Airbus A350 fleet is in regular service, with the exception of the 7 ULR aircraft which remain stored at Changi, due to their premium-heavy, cargo-light configuration.
The flying network
November and December 2020 will boast the busiest passenger schedule for Singapore Airlines services since most flights were cut in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the end of the year, 35 passenger routes will be served with over 300 weekly flights offered. The latest cities on the list include Fukuoka, Brunei and New York.
Given the limited frequencies on offer, this network will still only represent around 15% of the airline’s usual capacity by the end of the year, despite around half the airline’s usual destinations being served.
There are also eight SilkAir routes by December, plus 18 Scoot routes, though in both cases there is some overlap with existing SIA destinations.
A large chunk of Singapore Airlines flights using passenger aircraft continue to fly cargo (with some earmarked only to do so), necessitating an increased fleet compared to the headline ‘capacity’ percentage.
The storage report: October 2020
Here’s how SIA’s passenger fleet activity looked on 22nd October 2020, which gives us an indication of which aircraft are stored (last flew 14+ days ago), compared to those either active or 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.
All the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft remain stored in Singapore. None have flown passenger flights for close to seven months.
|Aircraft||Location||Last flew||Days ago|
|9V-STC||SIN||2 Apr 20||203|
|9V-SSD||SIN||31 Mar 20||205|
|9V-SSE||SIN||27 Mar 20||209|
|9V-SSF||SIN||13 Mar 20||223|
|9V-SSG||SIN||23 Mar 20||213|
|9V-SSH||SIN||28 Mar 20||208|
|9V-SSI||SIN||25 Nov 19||332|
As mentioned earlier in the article, 9V-SSC was returned to its lessor in October. The A330s are all due to leave in the next year or so and will almost certainly not operate passenger flights for the airline again.
9V-SSI has not made an appearance, even on a test flight, since sustaining tail damage during a landing accident in November 2019.
Only two of SIA’s Airbus A350-900s (in 3-class long-haul configuration) are stored at Changi, or potentially undergoing maintenance, with the other 24 aircraft deployed on at least one flight in the last 14 days.
On average, each active aircraft in this fleet is currently flying six flights per week.