Once a staple at Hong Kong Airport, Singapore Airlines’ A380s won’t be returning under the much-anticipated travel bubble between the countries. The decision comes as the airline remains optimistic about the travel bubble becoming a framework for reopening international travel. The future of the A380 remains in question as Singapore Airlines retired seven more this quarter.
No A380s in the travel bubble
In an analyst call this week, Singapore Airlines confirmed that the A380 wouldn’t be making a comeback on the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble. The decision is largely based on a wait-and-see approach regarding the rules and success of the route. The airline’s Executive VP of Commercial Lee Lik Hsin said,
“We do have to take into account the immediate consideration the government regulators will have in approving such a bubble, and being experimental we can expect some level of conservatism. So the ability to put our biggest passenger aircraft onto the bubble route, I think you can ensure that won’t be the case.“
Singapore Airlines’ A380s seat anywhere between 379 and 471 passengers, depending on the configuration. With details about the travel bubble still in the works, it’s unlikely the airline will pull these aircraft out of long-term storage just to fly this route. Instead, the airline has several aircraft with a similar capacity that can serve the route effectively.
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Optimism about the travel bubble
While the A380 won’t come back for the travel bubble, Singapore Airlines remains very optimistic about the bubble’s success. In the briefing, CEO Goh Choon Phong said the bubble is now being finalized and will serve as a great example of how travel can open up safely for everyone. According to the South China Morning Post, details about the bubble could be released as soon as tomorrow.
With both islands seeing cases in only single digits, a travel bubble will be a huge boost to the aviation and hospitality industry. Singapore Airlines reported a loss of S$3.5bn ($2.6bn) for the first half of 2020, while competitor Cathay Pacific faces similar struggles to stay afloat. A travel bubble has generated much excitement among residents and airlines alike, with hopes for robust demand.
Which aircraft will fly to Hong Kong?
With the A380 out, Singapore Airlines will likely use a smaller aircraft on the route. Currently, the 337-seat 787-10 is flying the daily rotation between the cities. The travel bubble’s expected demand will likely see a 303-seat A350-900 or even the more premium 264-seat 777-300ER added back to the route.
With details as soon as this week, we can expect a flurry of airline announcements about new flights between the cities. However, the A380 will not be making the flying between the cities for at least the foreseeable future.
Which aircraft do you think will return on the Singapore-Hong Kong route? Let us know in the comments below!