- Thomson Reuters
On October 25, 2007, the Airbus A380 entered commercial service with a flight operated by Singapore Airlines.
The Singaporean national airline took delivery of its first five A380s on 10-year leases with options to extend.
On Wednesday, the airline announced that it will not renew the lease for the first of its Airbus superjumbos.
“The first (lease) expires in October 2017, and we have decided not to extend it,” Singapore Airlines told Business Insider via email. “This decision was the result of a regular review of our fleet requirements.”
As a result, Singapore’s first A380 will be returned to its owners, Dr. Peters Group, once the lease runs out next October.
In addition, Singapore also said that it has not made up its mind on whether or not it will continue with the other four leased A380s.
A decision on fate of the remaining four leased superjumbos is expected to be made between now and April 2017, Aviation Week reported.
In total, Singapore Airlines operates the second largest A380 fleet in the world with 19- super-jumbos. The airline also has an additional order for five new A380s set to begin delivery late next year.
Over the past few years, Airbus has struggled mightily to find buyers for new A380s. It’s a struggle that’s now compounded by competition from the first group of off-lease A380s entering the second hand market.
In addition, Airbus also contends with A380s from current customers, such as Malaysia Airlines who is trying to dump its fleet of six superjumbos.
In a statement to Business Insider, Airbus wrote:
“We do not comment on the fleet plans of individual airlines. We are confident in the market for second hand A380s, which can be leased or acquired at attractive rates. This will offer a great opportunity for new entrants with new business models to start operating the A380.”
Today’s news is not exactly welcomed by an already struggling A380 program that’s fallen short of the paradigm shifting expectations Airbus had when the $428 million jet debuted more than a decade ago.
In July, Airbus announced at the Farnborough Air Show that it will slow down the production rate of the A380 by more than 50% starting in 2018.
Emirates remains the A380’s largest and most influential customer. With 140 of the 319 A380 orders coming from the Dubai-based airline, the future of the aircraft is essentially pegged to Emirates.