Singapore Airlines was forced to make the first cancellation of an A380 service due to a technical problem yesterday, after its single operational aircraft suffered a fuel pump problem.

Airbus confirms that Monday’s A380 flight from Singapore to Sydney was replaced by a 747-400 due to a “fuel pump issue”. SIA is reported to have said that that the problem was detected during engine start, and could not be resolved by the installation of a replacement fuel pump. The airline was unavailable for comment.

The switch to the 747, which has around 30% fewer seats than the A380, resulted in around 70 of the 418 passengers booked on the A380 being transferred to other flights today, say reports.

“Airbus and our own engineers have dedicated teams to try to address these issues quickly, but last night's fuel pump defect took much longer to fix,” Singapore Airlines said in an e-mailed statement to The Associated Press.

Airbus says that the aircraft involved was SIA’s first A380 (MSN003/9V-SKA), which had been re-introduced to service recently following a grounding for modifications when the airline’s second A380 (MSN005) was delivered.

That aircraft is now “in working party” says Airbus, while MSN003 has had its fuel pump issue resolved and is back in service today.

This marks the first replacement of an A380 flight due to a technical issue since the 471-seater entered service with SIA in October last year.

However in January, an SIA A380 departure from Singapore was replaced by a 747 after the aircraft was towed onto the grass while being repositioned. As a result, the aircraft was briefly grounded for detailed landing gear checks.

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