October 24, 2012
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has revealed an order for five more Airbus A380s and another 20 Airbus A350-900s, stressing that the move reflects its confidence in the future of premium air travel.
Prior to today’s announcement SIA had 20 A350-900s on order, so the new order increases the total to 40. Delivery of its first A350 is due in 2015. SIA already operates 19 A380s, but had none left on order backlog. It says deliveries of the new five will start in 2017.
The Star Alliance carrier has also disclosed that the 20 Boeing 787-9s it already had on firm order, for delivery from 2014, will be assigned to its medium-haul low-cost carrier Scoot.
“As part of the [new] deal, Airbus has agreed to acquire SIA’s five A340-500s, which will be removed from service in 2013’s fourth quarter,” the carrier says. This means it is cutting its non-stop services to Los Angeles and New York Newark. The airline says the decision to axe the A340-500s is in line with its “policy of maintaining a young fleet.” The Aviation Week Intelligence Network shows that the SIA A340-500s are nearly nine years old.
It is widely known in the industry that SIA’s A340-500 non-stop flights to the U.S. are unprofitable, because of the four-engined aircraft’s higher fuel burn. Some SIA executives were also questioning why the carrier was going to the trouble of maintaining such a small fleet of A340s.
The decision to stop flying non-stop to the U.S. is disappointing, but “we remain committed to the U.S. market,” SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong says. “Over the past two years we have increased capacity to both Los Angeles and New York by deploying A380s on flights via Frankfurt and Tokyo.”
SIA’s fleet of 777-200ERs is actually older than its A340s. The Aviation Week Intelligence Network shows the 34 aircraft are about 11 years old on average. The A350-900s will replace some of the 777-200ERs. The airline has already phased out some of its -200ERs by placing the aircraft with Scoot or leasing them to Royal Brunei Airlines.