Singapore Airlines has decided not to renew the lease of its first A380 when it expires next year.

The decision was confirmed by an SIA spokesperson who told Reuters: “Our first five A380s are on a 10-year lease, with options to extend. The first one will expire in October next year, and we have decided not to extend it.”

“For the other four, decisions will be made later.”

Speaking to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific earlier this year, Singapore Airlines’ vice president of public affairs Nicholas Ionides discussed the carrier’s leasing policy:

“We lease a portion of our fleet as a hedge on the residual value risk. It is generally not cost-effective to have a fully leased operating fleet, currently [we have leased] a little over 40 per cent of our total fleet.

SIA’s first A380 is currently one of the older aircraft in the airline’s fleet. Retiring this plane will serve to reduce the overall average age of its aircraft – something SIA has always prided itself on.

“We have always maintained a policy of having a young, modern and fuel-efficient fleet. Our aircraft are often not at the end of their operating life when we stop operating them”, said Ionides.

The move is another blow to the superjumbo, which has faced a decline in popularity.

However manufacturer Airbus reiterated its long-term confidence in the project to Reuters: “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”.

Singapore Airlines was the launch customer of the world’s largest passenger aeroplane, and took delivery of its first A380 back in 2007. It now has 19 in its fleet, with another five on order. SIA expects to take delivery of its next A380 in the second half of 2017.

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