After an extended stay in the desert, Singapore Airlines yesterday removed one of its Airbus A380s ahead of a planned refurbishment of the type. The airline plans to fit its entire remaining fleet of 12 aircraft with its latest A380 cabin product. The airline first revealed the plan in November.
Looking at the impact of the current crisis, two aircraft types appear to have been hit harder than others in terms of early retirements. It wasn’t a huge surprise when airlines began retiring the Boeing 747-400, given that the youngest built for passengers is already 16 years old. However, some airlines have already started retiring A380s under ten years old.
Singapore flies the A380 again
This morning a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 took to the skies once more. While not for passengers, the flight represents the first for the aircraft in question since it was flown to Alice Springs for storage in June.
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According to data from RadarBox.com, the aircraft departed Alice Springs at 10:04. Following a three-hour, 31-minute flight, the aircraft touched down at 15:06. However, rather than flying across the ocean to Singapore, the aircraft flew across the land to Sydney to undergo a routine return to service check. Qantas typically operated its A380s out of Sydney pre-pandemic.
Commenting on the flight, a Singapore Airlines spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“Singapore Airlines can confirm that one of our Airbus A380 aircraft that was stored in Alice Springs has begun its planned returned to Singapore ahead of a schedule retro-fitting and maintenance programme.
“The aircraft, registration 9V-SKQ, has been moved to Sydney to undergo routine checks following its storage, before returning to Singapore where it will be retro-fitted as part of our plan to have all 12 remaining A380 in our fleet fitted with the latest A380 cabin product.”
Good news for the A380 family
The flight will come as good news for the A380 family, especially at Singapore Airlines. In November, Simple Flying reported that the airline was to retire seven more A380s, leaving it with a dozen. However, the airline remains committed to these 12.
The airline is retrofitting its latest A380 product into all remaining A380s, ensuring a consistent experience across the board. If there were any chance that the aircraft wouldn’t return to service, it wouldn’t make sense to spend such funds.
The airline is hoping to refit all of its aircraft by the end of the year. In November, Simple Flying reported that just four aircraft remained to be retrofitted. This will see the airline’s six first class suites at the front of the upper deck. Two pairs of these suites can be converted into a double bed. The remainder of the upper deck is occupied by 82 flatbed business seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The new Singapore A380 configuration contains 44 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration on the main deck. Behind the second set of doors, the airline has 343 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.
Are you pleased to see Singapore Airlines continuing to retrofit its Airbus A380s? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!