What Happened To Singapore Airlines Boeing 757s?

Singapore Airlines fans may remember a time when the airline ran a small fleet of Boeing 757s. However, their time with Singapore was fleeting. The first of the four 757s arrived in 1984, and within six years they were all gone. What happened to Singapore Airlines Boeing 757s?

Singapore Airlines 757
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 757-200 with registration 9V-SGN in September 1985. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

According to Airfleets, Singapore Airlines brought four Boeing 757s which all arrived in the last quarter of 1984. 9V-SGK and 9V-SGL arrived in November, while 9V-SGM and 9V-SGN arrived in December. They all came factory fresh from Boeing.

Looking at the Singapore Airlines network on Routesonline, throughout 1985 and 1986 the airline was operating the 757 on flights to Jakarta, Bander Seri Bagawan, Kuala Lumper, Kuantan and Penang. All short-haul intra-Asia routes.

Between November 1989 and June 1990, all four of the Singapore Airlines 757s were sold to American Trans Air. ATA was an Indianapolis based low-cost carrier. Despite doing great business ferrying the US military around the world on charters, the airline filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

Southwest took over ATA’s operator’s certificate and assets, going on to become a low-cost aviation powerhouse. Preceding that, the four Boeing 757’s went to Delta Air Lines in 1996. Delta operated the aircraft for 20 years before retiring them into storage in 2016.

It was a long and adventurous life for those four planes.

A brief history of the 757

The twin-engined 757 was manufactured by Boeing between 1981 and 2004. It was designed to carry larger numbers of passengers on short to medium hauls than the Boeing 737s. Depending on the configuration, the Boeing 757 could fly between 200 and 295 passengers up to 7,590 kilometers. It was the single-aisle sibling to Boeing’s twin aisled 767.

Two variations of the 757 were built, the 757-200 which Singapore Airlines operated and the 757-300. The latter did not begin flying until 1999 and was the longest twin engine single-aisle plane ever built. Over the 24 years that the plane was manufactured, 1,050 were sold to some 54 airlines. Of the 1,050 built, 913 were the Boeing 757-200.

Boeing ceased making the jets in the latter half of 2004, citing a preference for smaller jets as the reason. Boeing shifted emphasis to the phenomenally successful 737.

United is one of the several airlines still operating the 757. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The 757 is still operated by many airlines around the world, notably American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. As of 2018, in excess of 650 Boeing 757s were still flying for commercial and cargo airlines.

Why did Singapore have the 757s?

In the early 1980s, Singapore Airlines was looking to replace its Boeing 727s. At the time, Boeing was starting to manufacture the 757s and Airbus was making the A310-200s. Singapore Airlines, rather astutely, took some of each for a few years to try.

As a historical side note, the first A310 arrived six days after the first Boeing 757.

The company went with Airbus, eventually going with the A310-300. That aircraft went on to become an iconic Singapore Airlines plane type.

Singapore Airlines elected to take the Airbus A310s over Boeing’s 757s. Photo: Daniel Tanner via Wikimedia Commons

Some online sleuthing indicates that passengers at the time preferred the wider body A310 and that feedback was a key reason Singapore went with Airbus. There is also the possibility that Airbus struck a deal with Singapore that made the A310 a more compelling financial proposition.

When Simple Flying asked Singapore Airlines why it didn’t keep and grow their fleet of 757s, Karl Schubert, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines said;

“Singapore Airlines has a longstanding commitment to operating a young and modern fleet of aircraft. Renewing our fleet to deliver on this commitment provides our customers with the latest cabin and aircraft technologies, as well as ensures that we are operating the most fuel-efficient aircraft available.”

That doesn’t tell us much. The Singapore Airlines 757s were a short-lived experiment. It was an aircraft we didn’t see much of in South East Asia whether under Singapore livery or any other airlines’ brand. It was nonetheless, an interesting sidenote in the history of Singapore Airlines.

A legacy

Altogether, Boeing highlights that the twinjet, medium-range aircraft was introduced with up to 80% more fuel efficiency than the older 727 jets it was designed to replace but kept the 727’s short-field abilities. Notably, the 757-200 carried up to 228 passengers and had a range of approximately 3,900 NM (7222 km).

In late 2003, the manufacturer decided to end 757 production because of the increased capabilities of the newest 737s. Additionally, the new 787 fulfilled the requirements of the 757’s market. Subsequently, in April 2005, Boeing ended the 757 passenger airplane’s production after 23 years after a delivery to Shanghai Airlines. The jet was the 1,050th unit of the type produced.

The situation today

Nonetheless, the 757 still flies high across the globe today. For instance, Delta currently holds 127 units within its fleet. The Atlanta-based carrier is even investing in hygiene measures onboard these jets. From the middle of next month, it is working on adding antimicrobial LED lighting in the lavatories on the jets through early 2021.

Presently, Singapore Airlines holds a balance of narrowbody and widebody aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing. Altogether, it has A330s, A350s, A380s, 747s, 777s, and 787 Dreamliners.

Singapore A350 Getty
Singapore Airlines has a diverse mix of aircraft within its holdings. Photo: Getty Images

However, the climate in the aviation industry has considerably transitioned over the last year. Passenger habits are continually shifting and governmental policies are constantly changing. Therefore, it won’t be a surprise to see several fleet reshuffles from Singapore Airlines and other carriers across the globe over the next few years.

The schedule information in this article was originally published by Routesonline

What are your thoughts about Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 757 fleet? Did you fly on the aircraft over the years? Let us know that you think of the planes in the comment section.