2020 is the year that most industries would like to forget, particularly airlines.
We all recognize that COVID-19 has crippled the number of flying passengers. In fact, over the past few weeks many airlines have been reporting their losses from earlier in the year.
Last week, Singapore Airlines reported, in light of COVID-19, a S$3.5 billion (~$2.6 Billion USD) loss in the first half of its 2020-2021 financial year.
Given this development, Singapore Airlines will send 26 aircraft into retirement, including more than a third of its flagship Airbus A380s and all of their Boeing 777-300s.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES’ UNIQUE SITUATION
Singapore Airlines faced hurdles that many other airlines did (& continually do) not face. For example, Singapore is a city/state. In other words, every flight that departs from the “island” is an international flight. With border closures – including at Singapore itself – and no domestic market to rely on, the carrier saw passenger numbers decrease by 99%.
Similar to most airlines, the carrier has made the tough choice to retire some of its fleet, specifically 7 (of 19) Airbus A380s, four 777-200ERs, and all four 777-300ERs.
It’s worth noting that Singapore Airlines operates an all wide-body passenger aircraft fleet from five aircraft families: Airbus A330, Airbus A350, Airbus A380,
Boeing 777 and Boeing 787, totaling 135 aircraft (as of 31 October 2020) so this isn’t a huge deal.
However, depending on how the pandemic progresses, it may become more of a hurdle.
For example, Singapores border is largely still closed but will begin a “travel bubble” arrangement with Hong Kong on 22 November which will limit the amount of passengers to 200 per day. Though it is progress, the airline still has a lot of planes on the ground and opening restaurants is not going to satisfy the companys bottom line.
You may remember that I had booked a Singapore Airlines first class flight from London to Singapore and was really looking forward to it, but also had to cancel it because of COVID-19.
Generally, award availability on routes featuring the new first class (below) was limited to shorter routes. However, there was a fortunate equipment swap that worked in my favor, so I booked it.
Now, I have a ton of miles sitting in my Singapore account but need to track down which aircraft now feature the new first class and what route they are flying. Additionally, the carrier has several different first class products so with the retirement my options are far more limited for reviews.
Coincidentally, Ben at One Mile at a Time, just reported a few minutes ago that Singapore Airlines has pulled their First Class and Suites availability through October 2021. Yikes!!
Singapore Airlines will send 26 aircraft into retirement, including more than a third of its flagship Airbus A380s and all of their Boeing 777-300s.
Although it was sad to request a refund for my flight, the experience left a favorable impression on me, so I trust I will return to their new first class soon (…hopefully).
I’ve always had great experiences with Singapore Airlines and continue to choose them over many other competitors when given the option so let’s hope for better days.
What do you make of this development? Have you ever flown Singapore Airlines?
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