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Sad news for lovers of Singapore Airlines’ A380s: The original Singapore Airlines A380 is going to be retired in 13 months. Singapore Airlines has decided not to extend the lease on this aircraft, instead letting it expire in October 2017. The plane (registration 9V-SKA) was originally delivered on October 15, 2007. Just 10 days later, Singapore Airlines used it to fly the first ever commercial A380 flight between Singapore (SIN) and Sydney (SYD).
Singapore Airlines hasn’t indicated why it’s dropping this historical aircraft, but that’s not keeping analysts from speculating. There’s no official decision from Singapore Airlines regarding the fate of the next four A380s — which also have 10-year leases expiring soon — but a CAPA Center for Aviation analyst told the Wall Street Journal it’s unlikely Singapore Airlines will keep them:
[Singapore Airlines] fleet plan and strategy has always been to replace those aircraft. Early model airplanes come with limitations and Singapore Airlines never wanted to be stuck with remarketing these five airplanes.
It seems Singapore Airlines had the foresight to avoid getting stuck with having to sell these early superjumbos. Instead, the carrier will be effectively replacing the original A380s with newer A380s. A Singapore Airlines spokesperson confirmed that the airline is retaining its five A380 orders with Airbus. These new aircraft are expected to be delivered beginning “in the second half of 2017” — just in time to start phasing out these original A380s.
While it’s a good sign for Airbus that Singapore Airlines isn’t completely bailing on the A380, this news is still a big hit to the program. The manufacturer is having a hard enough time selling new planes — and it only plans on producing 12 new aircraft in 2018. The last thing it needs is a glut of used A380s hitting the market further eroding demand. In addition to this former Singapore Airlines A380 hitting the market, Malaysia Airlines is planning to phase out all of its A380s by June 2018.
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