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March 22, 2009

Singapore’s national carrier unsure about taking A380s on schedule
Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it would receive four Airbus A380 superjumbos as planned this year but could not rule out deferring future deliveries as passenger and cargo volumes drop, reported AFP.

"Singapore Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of four A380s this year, and we have no immediate plans to defer any aircraft deliveries," the company said in a statement to AFP.

"However, we don't discount the possibility of deferring future deliveries as we consider the options for our fleet going forward," it added.

SIA said that load figures, an industry measure of capacity usage, remain encouraging on the aircraft, the biggest airliner ever built. SIA is the first airline to fly the double-decker A380 and it had placed orders for 19 of the planes, six of which are on option.

Six A380s have already been delivered and the four this year will raise its fleet to 10. The giant plane can carry up to 853 passengers but SIA chose a set-up with a maximum of 471 seats to give passengers more space.

The design includes 12 luxurious "suites," each with a full-length bed behind sliding doors. SIA, regarded as a bellwether for the industry, reported Tuesday a huge drop in passenger numbers and cargo shipments for February.

The carrier flew 1.18 million passengers in February, down 20.2 percent from the same month in 2008. It also filled 69.7 percent of available passenger seats during the month, down 7.1 percentage points. Cargo volumes slipped 16.9 percent and the airline filled 56.7 percent of available freight space, down 5.5 percentage points from last year.

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