MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Airbus delivered the first Airbus A380 (9V-SKA) to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SQ) in 2007. The airline’s then CEO Chew Choon Seng described the new aircraft as “the new queen of the skies.”
However, Mr. Seng had previously slated the European manufacturer for the severe delays in the aircraft’s delivery. The arrival of the first ‘superjumbo’ was 19 months behind schedule. SQ had ordered 25 of the type, then known as the A3XX, on September 29, 2000, at a cost of US$8.6bn.
The type then entered service on October 25, flying between Singapore (SIN) and Sydney (SYD). Flight SQ380 departed with a full load of passengers who had purchased tickets in a charity auction. Winners paid between US$560 for an economy seat and US$1,380 for a First Class suite. SQ donated all money generated to three charities at a ceremony held in Sydney the following day.
Less than ten years after 9V-SKA was delivered the airline withdrew the aircraft from the fleet on August 25, 2017. Despite being dubbed by Seng as “the plane for today and tomorrow,” the aircraft struggles to live up to expectations. Its massive size made it difficult to fill and therefore difficult to make money.
19 A380s remained in the fleet before the COVID-19 pandemic but SQ will be retiring a further seven from service in due course. The airline recently announced that the superjumbo will however re-enter service on November 18, 2021, to Heathrow.
Featured image: Singapore Airlines has operated 24 Airbus A380s in total. Photo: Airbus