In June, Singapore Airlines retired from service the first A380 to operate a commercial flight, a ten-year-old aircraft with the registration 9V-SKA. Singapore had leased the aircraft from Dr. Peters Group (a somewhat obscure German asset management company), with the lease expiring on October 12 of this year; Singapore says it retired the aircraft from service early because of legal complications with returning the aircraft to the lessor. Singapore plans to retire four more A380s from service over the coming months.
On a related note, the Portugese charter airline Hi Fly (whose business model consists not of operating their own flights, but wet leases used aircraft to airlines and governments worldwide) announced that it will be acquiring two Airbus A380s, which it will begin operating in 2018. Since there aren’t exactly a lot of used A380s kicking around the market these days, I think its fair to assume that the aircraft Hi Fly will be acquiring will be some of the A380s Singapore will be retiring.
It will be interesting to see who Hi Fly operates these A380s for. On one hand, we could have the boring scenario of an airline which already has A380s simply adding these to their fleet temporarily. On the other hand, to make it interesting for us, ( ) we could see airlines that don’t have A380s acquiring them on a temporary basis during periods of exceedingly high demand (such as leisure flights in summer or pilgrimage flights; the latter is what Malaysia Airlines plans on doing with their A380s long-term). We’ll have to see who ends up with these two aircraft.
It’s nice to see these aircraft find a second home rather than meeting the scrapper’s torch (Dr. Peters Group already had plans to dismantle some of Singapore’s A380s to salvage for parts). It’s kind of like Adopt-a-Puppy but with multi-million dollar things that fly through the sky.