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On the move: Another Singapore A380 departs Alice Springs

written by Hannah Dowling | November 18, 2021

Singapore Airlines A380-841 9V-SKY

A third Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 has this week exited long-term storage and landed back to Singapore.

9V-SKT took off from Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport at 12:28pm local time on Thursday and touched down at Singapore’s Changi Airport just after 5pm local time, after completing the nearly eight hour journey.

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It comes after Singapore Airlines announced it will bring its Airbus A380s back into service on select flights between Singapore and London from mid-November, and on flights between Sydney and Singapore from 1 December.

9V-SKT had previously been parked in the Alice Springs “boneyard” since April 2020, however it was ferried to Sydney on Tuesday ahead of its planned return to Singapore.

The aircraft departed Alice Springs at 10:34am local time on Tuesday, landing at Sydney three hours and six minutes later, at 3pm.

It is the third A380 to make its way from long-term storage in the Australian desert back to Singapore ahead of a planned return to passenger service in recent months.

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The first to be resurrected was 9V-SKQ, which departed the Alice Springs storage facility in February, followed by 9V-SKW, which followed in July.

While Singapore Airlines, the launch customer for the superjumbo, is set to retire seven of its A380s, it will crucially keep 12 in service.

As of earlier this month, the airline had already reinstated three of its A380s – 9V-SKU, -SKV and -SKM – on services connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and has announced plans to bring the superjumbo back online for routes to London and Sydney in the coming weeks.

“Once Australia’s border restrictions are lifted, I am sure Australians will relish the opportunity to experience all the comforts of our A380 as they wing their way from Singapore to London,” said Louis Arul, Singapore Airlines vice-president, southwest Pacific.

“Our award-winning digital initiatives, as well as our industry-leading health and safety measures, will ensure Australians travel in comfort and safety as they reunite with family and friends.”

It comes after the first Qantas A380 to return to Australia from storage finally touched down in Sydney after nearly 19 hours in the air, ahead of its planned return to service in 2022.

VH-OQB was ferried from a maintenance facility in Dresden to Sydney earlier this month, finally landing at Sydney Kingsford on 9 November after taking the scenic route via Sydney Harbour.

It is the first time VH-OQB has seen Australian shores since it was first ferried to LAX on 26 March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic.

Qantas is expected to bring OQB back into service on its Sydney-LAX route by April 2022, while its second superjumbo will return by July.

Five of the airlines A380s are expected to be back up and running for passengers by the end of 2022 on routes to LA and London, while the remainder of the fleet will be reintroduced gradually by the end of 2023.

Like Singapore, Qantas will not be bringing its entire A380 fleet back into service, with the impact of the pandemic resulting in the airline fast-tracking the retirement of two of its 12 superjumbos.

The decision marks the beginning of the end of Qantas’ iconic A380 fleet, following the decided end of the Airbus A380 program, as Airbus nears delivery of its last-ever A380 to Emirates.

7 Comments

  • George

    says:

    How strange that Singapore Airlines parks their A380s in Alice while qantas uses the USA for storage.

    • Rosco

      says:

      Qantas has A380 facilities and Engineers at LAX that are maintaining the A380’s at Victorville.

    • Phil Young

      says:

      George, a significant difference is that Qantas has a full maintenance hanger with on-site staff at LAX, a short distance from Victorville, but there is nothing like that at Alice Springs.

      • Nerdy Nev

        says:

        Sorry, Phil, but doubt an A380 would fit into a ‘hanger’!

        Am sure you meant ‘hangar’…….

    • Vannus

      says:

      Nothing ‘strange’ at all, George. So no need to have a dig at QANTAS not storing them here.

      At the time QANTAS had to ‘hibernate’ their A380’s, the ASP facility was full, as it hadn’t yet expanded.

      There’re also costs involved, engineering facilities’, & hangar storage to be thought about, which ASP doesn’t have.

      So, both LAX & VCV were chosen so QF engineers’ had easy access to aircraft to keep them maintained in tip-top condition.

      Their excellent condition has made for the early arrival of VH-OQB ‘Hudson Fysh’ back to Australia, which came from the LAX airport storage hangar.

      Think it’s very apt that that A380 is named after one of the founders’ of the Airline!

  • At last, now can see opportunities for the worlds population to be able to get on the move again.

  • AlanH

    says:

    George, we mere mortals have no real idea what goes on in the business world with the exchange of money and undertakings at various levels. There were no doubt very substantial financial incentives as to why Qantas chose to park their A380s in California instead of The Alice, and similarly with the deal struck with Singapore Airlines. Money rules our world, not practicality or patriotism.

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