The First A380 To Enter Service Is Being Scrapped

Jun 5, 2018

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Even if you don’t consider yourself an AvGeek, if you’ve been reading TPG for a while, you probably know by now that the Queen of the Skies (aka the Boeing 747) will soon be a thing of the past. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise though given that the plane’s been in service for nearly 50 years and there are much more fuel efficient aircrafts available today. However, that’s not the only superjumbo jet being scrapped.

Just one decade after entering service, Airbus’ first A380 ever to fly for an airline, the one bearing the Singaporean registration 9V-SKA, has been retired and is being stripped for parts. Several others have also been sent to storage in Tarbes, France, and may soon follow suit.

The plane was originally delivered to Singapore Airlines and had its first commercial flight on October 25, 2007 from Singapore (SIN) to Sydney (SYD) — the inaugural A380 service. Singapore Airlines returned the plane to its lessor, Germany-based Dr. Peters Group, as soon as the lease expired in October 2017, and the company has had no success in finding another airline to take it. After months of negotiations, the company made the decision on Tuesday to pull the plug and gut the plane.

Image courtesy of Toulouse's tourism office.
An A380 for Singapore Airlines being built. Image courtesy of Toulouse’s tourism office.

Rather than scrap the $250 million (at time of purchase) double-decker jets entirely, valuable components such as landing gears and electronics will be preserved and sold off, generating $80 million per aircraft. The plane’s engines have already been removed and leased back to manufacturer Rolls-Royce for use as spares. 

The A380 is TPG’s favorite aircraft to fly because it’s quiet and smooth and is easy to book using miles, but there’s simply not enough demand for the 500-plus seater. Airlines would much rather operate smaller and more efficient twin-engine planes now in the market, like the A350 and B787. That being said, Singapore Airlines isn’t completely bailing on the A380: The carrier is replacing the retired aircraft with new ones — equipped with the carrier’s latest and greatest suite.

Singapore Airlines’ retired A380s which are not being scrapped are going to Hi-Fly, a Portuguese company that’s in the business of wet-leasing of aircraft, but only time will tell how long they’ll keep them in service.

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