Singapore Airlines is currently considering whether to return to Airbus the world’s first A380, which it received on a 10-year lease. That allows SIA to return the plane in 2017.
The first A380, nicknamed Superjumbo, was delivered to Singapore Airlines eight years ago this Thursday, on 15 October 2007. It entered service on 25 October 2007 between Singapore and Sydney, with flight number SQ380.
Both the Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies are reporting the pronouncements of air-finance banker Bertrand Grabowski, who told a conference in Prague that if SIA decides to return the plane, any subsequent move to sell or re-lease it will indicate what a second-hand model is actually worth. Alternatively, SIA could choose to negotiate a reduced rate and keep the plane.
It promises to be a test of lease-pricing for the A380, Grabowski said.
SIA has indicated it may not want to keep the plane, but analysts speculate that may be a tactic to negotiate a keener rate if it does keep it.
In January this year, Airbus set the list price of a new A380 at USD 428 million (AUD 584 million). As always in aviation, however, deals are done and bulk orders work wonders.
Lease rates can influence the price of new planes.
Airbus, struggling to sell new A380s, now faces a looming second-hand market, which is likely to be led by big-time A380 operators such as Emirates, the world’s largest A380 operator, and SIA.
Airbus sees a role for such aircraft in operating six- to eight-hour routes with low-cost Asian airlines.
No-one knows the cost of refitting an A380 after 10 years of service.
Malaysia Airlines is reportedly trying to sell two A380s and several B777s as it restructures under chief executive Christophe Mueller.
As of last month, September 2015, Airbus had received 317 firm orders and delivered 171 A380s; Emirates has the most A380s on order with 140 and 67 delivered.
Written by Peter Needham