Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines Fleet: May 2021

This month Singapore Airlines confirmed four of its oldest 777-300ERs have been retired, while 737-8 MAX aircraft and more efficient wide-body jets will continue to arrive in the year ahead.

This month the most significant news about the Singapore Airlines fleet has been the revelation that four older Boeing 777-300ERs have been retired from service, in continued response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SIA’s fortunes.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that a large boost to the fleet over the current financial year will arise from not only the six Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft moving across from SilkAir, but a further eight of the type currently stored in the USA under Boeing’s care.

This will boost the MAX fleet to 14 by March 2022, though it’s not yet clear when the type will be cleared to operate again in Singapore, nor whether all 14 would be brought into passenger service immediately as they are delivered.

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The troubled Boeing 737 MAX 8, now cleared to fly in many countries but still awaiting approval here in Singapore, will also eventually replace the older 737-800s, and the first two to receive the SIA colour scheme and new cabin products have now been rolled out of the hangar.

Meanwhile the wide-body fleet renewal process is set to continue, with more Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s confirmed for delivery this year.

Fleet totals

Here are the Singapore Airlines passenger fleet totals at 31st May 2021.

  CAAS Database: 146  
  Awaiting certification:
For disposal:
-5
-27
 
  In Service: 114  
  In maintenance / stored:
-25
 
  Active: 89  

The official registered aircraft data in combination with recent retirement announcements and analysis of actual flight movements over the last few weeks allows us to determine the actual ‘in service’ fleet (available to the airline) of 114 planes at 31st May 2021, 89 of which were recently active.

  Click here to see the official CAAS list of registered aircraft in Singapore at 30th April 2021.



 


 

SIA Passenger Fleet at 31st May 2021

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
3
0 0
A350-900
!A359.png
26 26 25
A350-900 Regional
!A359.png
22
22 21
A350-900 ULR
!A359.png
7 7 7
A380-800 v1
!A388.png
6 0 0
A380-800 v2
!A388.png
4 3 0
A380-800 v3
!A388.png
9 9 0
737-800
9 9 9
737-8 MAX
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is B38M-Label-Small-v2.png
5 0 0
777-200
!B772.png
8 0 0
777-200ER
!B772.png
3 0 0
777-300
!B773.png
2 0 0
777-300ER
!B773.png
27 23 12
787-10
!B78X.png
15 15 15
Total 146 114 89

Following confirmation that all the airline’s remaining Airbus A330s, Boeing 777-200s, Boeing 777-200ERs and Boeing 777-300s will not be returning to the fleet after COVID-19, in addition to seven older Airbus A380s, we have removed these from the ‘In Service’ column.

Additionally, four newly announced Boeing 777-300ER retirements and all currently registered Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft, which are awaiting re-certification, are excluded from the ‘In Service’ column.

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This reflects a future fleet of 114 aircraft, plus future near-term deliveries of Airbus A350s, Boeing 737-8 MAXs and Boeing 787-10s.

Fleet activity

Four aircraft types are currently in service with the airline, as shown in the table below outlining the number in use at each of our monthly fleet update ‘snapshots’, from April 2020 to date.

SIA fleet activity timeline (2020)
  A350
B773
B77W
B787
Total
LH
R
ULR
Apr 16 10 4 18 15 63
May 14 9 3 18 15 59
Jun 21 12 2 11 15 61
Aug 23 14 1 4 14 56
Sep 24 13 1 7 12 57
Oct 24 13 1 4 12 54
Nov 25 17 10 14 66
Dec 26 18 3 9 14 70
SIA fleet activity timeline (2021)
  A350
B738
B77W
B787
Total
LH
R
ULR
Jan
26 18 6 9 15 74
Feb
25 17 6 9 15 72
Mar
26 17 7 4 11 15 80
Apr
26 19 7 8 11 15 86
May
25 21 7 9 12 15 89

Almost all Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s remain in consistent use, alongside the nine recent Boeing 737-800 deliveries, while the deployment of Boeing 777-300ERs has risen to 52% of that fleet, now that we know only 23 of the aircraft will return to service.

Overall the airline was actively using a total of 89 aircraft in May 2021, its highest total since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Here’s a graphical look at the active vs. stored fleet.

Type Active / Inactive  
A330-300 □□□ 0%
A350 ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ 96%
A350 R ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ 95%
A350 ULR ■■■■■■■ 100%
A380 □□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□ 0%
737-800 ■■■■■■■■■ 100%
777-200 □□□□□□□□ 0%
777-200ER □□□ 0%
777-300 □□ 0%
777-300ER ■■■■■■■■■■■■□□□□□□□□□□□ 52%
787-10 ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ 100%

 

Here’s a look at how busy each aircraft fleet has been, based on active aircraft over the seven-day period from 21st May 2021 to 27th May 2021.

Type Total flights per week Average per active aircraft
Flights per week Daily utilisation
A350 190 7 11.3h
A350 R 252 12 9.9h
A350 ULR 29 5 11.9h
737-800 54 6 2.0h
777-300ER 90 8 3.3h
787-10 207 14 10.5h

Airbus A350s are the current ‘workhorses’ in terms of daily flying hours per aircraft, though the Boeing 787s aren’t far off.

Not surprisingly, with 21 active aircraft and a focus on regional routes, the A350 Regional is flying the highest number of flights per week.

Four Boeing 777-300ERs have been retired

In SIA’s latest financial update, the carrier confirmed it had written-down the value of four Boeing 777-300ERs, with these aircraft now retired from the fleet. They will therefore not be returning to operation post-COVID.

We checked with Singapore Airlines, who confirmed to us that the affected aircraft are:

  • 9V-SWA (age 14.7 years)
  • 9V-SWD (age 14.5 years)
  • 9V-SWE (age 14.5 years)
  • 9V-SWF (age 14.5 years)

These are the four oldest Boeing 777-300ERs in the fleet, notably excluding 9V-SWB which has been spared an early retirement.

9V-SWB suffered extensive wing damage after a fire in June 2016, while landing at Changi after turning back from a proposed flight to Milan, due to a technical problem.

The repairs took five months to complete and the expenses incurred probably resulted a much higher write-off to bring the aircraft to ‘book value’ for resale, likely the reason it is being retained in the fleet for now.

Boeing 737 MAX joins the SIA fleet

This month, with the final SilkAir passenger flight completed, five of the regional wing’s six existing Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft (9V-MBA to 9V-MBE) have been formally transferred to the Singapore Airlines Air Operator Certificate.

Here’s how the fleet will look once 9V-MBF also makes the shift.

SIA Boeing 737-8 MAX Fleet

Registration Age
(years)
Current
Livery
Current
Location
9V-MBA 3.6 SIN
9V-MBB 3.5 ASP
9V-MBC 3.4 SIN
9V-MBD 3.1 ASP
9V-MBE 3.0 ASP
9V-MBF* 2.2 SIN

* Still registered to SilkAir as of 30th April 2021.

In March Singapore Airlines confirmed that its Boeing 737-8 MAX cabin refit programme had commenced, starting with its first aircraft returned from Alice Springs (9V-MBA).

According to our sources a second aircraft, 9V-MBC, has now also had its refit completed.

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Aside from a repaint from SilkAir colours, the process also involves:

  • Installation of flat-bed Thompson Vantage Business Class seats
  • Installation of new Economy Class seats with seat-back entertainment systems
  • The addition of Wi-Fi connectivity

Here’s 9V-MBA pictured at Changi in late April sporting its new colours, with the tell-tale Wi-Fi antenna on the roof.

SIA’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8 at Changi Airport on 29 April 2021. (Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

The MAXs will eventually replace SIA’s Boeing 737-800s, for a consistent product and service offering across the narrow-body and wide-body fleets, however the type is still awaiting approval to fly again in Singapore from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS).

No timescale for a reintroduction of the aircraft type in Singapore has yet been announced, but hopefully once that does happen we can look forward to a formal reveal of the new cabin products.

Airbus A330s

Three Singapore Airlines Airbus A330s remain in storage at Changi. All aircraft have ceased service, not flying revenue flights for over a year, and are for return to their respective leasing companies.

This process should finish in Q3 2021 with 9V-SSI.

!A330v3 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SSG SIN 23 Mar 20 434
9V-SSH SIN 28 Mar 20 429
9V-SSI SIN 25 Nov 19 553

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

9V-SSI has yet to make a test flight appearance after sustaining tail damage during a landing incident at Yangon in November 2019. The aircraft was ferried empty to Singapore over 17 months ago in mid-December 2019, but has not flown since.

Airbus A350s

The Airbus A350-900 long-haul fleet remained at close to full strength in May 2021, with an operating total of 25 out of 26 aircraft. 9V-SMH appears to be having routine maintenance.

!A359 Label
Aircraft Location Last flew Days ago
9V-SMA SIN 31 May 21