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Malaysia Airlines puts its entire Airbus A380 fleet up for sale

By David Flynn     Filed under: Airbus A380, Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines has put its entire fleet of six Airbus A380s up for sale, along with four Boeing 777-200ER jets, as the airline ramps up its efforts to wipe out millions of dollars in ongoing losses.

Malaysia Airlines is said to be open to outright sale or lease, reports respected aviation industry site Leeham News.

Also on the block are six MAS freight aircraft – two Boeing 747-400s and four Airbus A330-200s – which Leeham News' Scott Hamilton says 'wipes out MASCargo'.

Malaysia Airlines took delivery of its first A380 just less than three years ago, in May 2012, and currently flies the superjumbos from its home hub in Kuala Lumpur to London and Paris.

The A380's list price in 2012 was US$389.9, although it's speculated that airlines typically pay barely half the sticker.

Each Malaysia Airlines A380 contains eight first class suites, which MAS boasted at the time were the world's widest first class beds, along with 66 lie-flat business class seats and 420 economy seats.

The airline was nationalised in late 2014 by Malaysia's government-owned investment arm Khazanah Nasional, after years of mounting debt.

The airline has racked up debts approaching $1.5 billion since 2011 and last year analysts predicted Malaysia Airlines would not break even until at least 2016.

Under KN's watch, MAS was to receive a A$2 billion injection from 2014 to 2016 to fund a dramatic restructure – including a 30% cut to its workforce – in a drive to return the airline to profitability by 2017.

"Malaysia Airlines refers to the speculation on its fleet. It is currently still working to finalise the Business Plan. Exploring fleet options to enhance viability of long haul sectors is one area being looked into

Approached for comment by Australian Business TravellerMalaysia Airlines issued a statement saying the airline "is currently still working to finalise the Business Plan. Exploring fleet options to enhance viability of long haul sectors is one area being looked into."

However, the airline refused to confirm or deny that it plans to sell or lease any Airbus A380s.

Incoming Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller has added that "recent speculations on the airline offering some of its fleet for sale or lease is too premature when nothing concrete has been achieved."

“MAS needs to operate and utilize its fleet at an optimum level besides maximizing revenue on the route it flies. The market needs to give Malaysia Airlines room to explore various options in determining the most viable strategy."

Read more: Malaysia Airlines fleet restructuring

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 30/4/15 by riley

Could anyone see A380s in the VA fleet?

1 on 1/5/15 by Rishi

I feel for you.

1 on 2/5/15 by riley

Haha the tribe has spoken!

2 on 30/4/15 by AlexT

Suspect that Malaysia Airlines will have a hard time. Universal demand for A380 is pretty low, aside from Emirates - but I doubt they'll be interested in 2nd hand aircraft anyway.

The A380 is too big for Virgin Australia.

3 on 30/4/15 by Mark

Could be an opportunity for Qantas to pick up a great deal on near new aircraft, but I doubt it will happen though!!

1 on 30/4/15 by Peter

I was just thinking the same thing too.


, 6 bargain A380s for sale

2 on 30/4/15 by PaulST

Was also thinking the same. 

3 on 1/5/15 by gumshoe

Alan is on the phone right now.

1 on 1/5/15 by Jedinak K

Really? Haven't heard any news from QF nor MH...

4 on 30/4/15 by sagidec


not surprised if Emirates want to buy their A380 to top up the gazillion number they already have. Etihad and Qatar could take advantage since they only ordered a small amount and might want to bring in more luxury travel.

I am curious what their new CEO Christoph Mueller has in store for the airline in the next few months and years. Route cuts, capacity reductions, customer service changes, frequent flyer programs, new fleet?, etc.

Their B777-200ER seems pretty old. Not sure who would want them.

1 on 30/4/15 by TheRealBabushka

Didn't Christoph Mueller oversee the exit of Aer Lingus from Oneworld?

Maybe it's time to poke around and look for a new partner in SEA?

2 on 30/4/15 by Rishi

BA also don't have many they would like them. Maybe carriers like LAN can maybe pick them up.

5 on 30/4/15 by TheRealBabushka

So what will MH use to fly to LHR and CDG? Clapped-out 772??? Goodness!

6 on 30/4/15 by Andy H

Unfortunately MH needs to cut its losses and the next round of cuts will definately hit home, heres the mow down;

- Both Melbourne and Sydney will have their frequency reduced, both could go back to x2 daily each (minimum) or still retain the 3rd daily on selected days

- Brisbane will get its frequency cut or could be totally axed, it is said this route has been loss making for years

- Darwin could be axed totally or just reduced frequency

- Perth and Adelaide will remain relatively unchanged 

*Not official just what I think might happen: MEL, SYD, BNE and DRW have been stated to get reduced frequency or be axed by MH.

1 on 30/4/15 by TheRealBabushka

That's understandable. But if KUL/LHR vv is operated by anything other than the A380 or an aircraft with a similar hard product, I see a lot of traffic going to BA. Very clever of BA to restart KUL services.

It will be very interesting to see if domestic MH loyalist will stick around, particularly at the pointy end. 

7 on 30/4/15 by smit0847

Difficult decision whether to invest money in product or just try and battle through. They already have a pretty poor premium product and replacing A380 routes with old 777s isnt going to help.

Agree there isnt going to be much of a market for used A380s considering demand for new ones has slown to almost a halt. I could see QF picking up 1 for SYD-HKG but doubt they would buy more to upguage 747 LAX routes while the AUD is in such a poor position against the USD - those US flights are getting harder to fill.

1 on 30/4/15 by Himeno

QF has 8 more A380s on the order books. Those 8 are intended to replace the 9 refit 744s post 2018.

Why not get some cheap, near new, A380s and bring forward some 747 retirements - at least the 3 remaining non refit 744s, or even all 6 of the non ERs.

1 on 1/5/15 by hutch

If QF is to spend money on capital this year, personally I'd prefer it be spent on exercising the 787 options. Assuming QF does want to buy these A380, there are only two available now with the other four being available from sometime next year. If the MY A380's are the newer model which would allow fully loaded A380 operations to DFW, they might be a good pickup. 

Whilst passengers may like the A380 (Inc me) is switching BNE-LAX to an A380 the best thing for QF? What about onward flights to JFK? IS BNE better served by a 787 to LAX-JFK with another 787 opening up BNE-DFW flights? Is SYD-HKG best served by an A380 or double daily flights in a smaller aircraft? The A380, whilst a pleasant flying experience is not the right plane for every route.

8 on 30/4/15 by Martin

Maybe, just maybe QF should consider the following:

- purchasing / leasing all of MAS A380 and start a BNE - DXB - LHR service, upgrade DFW to a daily service, SYD - HKG to daily A380 and change BNE-LAX to an A380. 

With the B777-200ER, I could see QF agin either purchaing/leasing all of them and resume a SYD - SFO daily and SYD - BJS daily. 

Would really be nice to see QF take some steeps in the right way ;-)

1 on 30/4/15 by Rishi

And maybe also having another destination in Europe!

2 on 1/5/15 by hutch

QF has been moving towards reducing fleet types. Whilst picking up A380's is a possibility, it would be extremely unlikely that they pick up 4 x 777-200. More fleet types (particulary only 4) would be added cost. 

1 on 1/5/15 by Himeno

Doesn't QF only have 4 types at the moment, and will still have 4 types with the current plan?

737, A330, A380, 747 > 737, A330, A380, 787.

1 on 1/5/15 by hutch

That would be the plan... they removed the 767's and retired the 737-4. Picking up 777's would make that 5 though and potentially 6 if there is a period of 737>747>A330>777>787>A380 operating at the same time.

When I said "(particulary only four)" I should have inserted the words 'planes' after four.

9 on 30/4/15 by Raaj

Btw MH does not fly to Hong Kong with the Airbus anymore. They stopped that a long time ago.

10 on 30/4/15 by Mike66

Qantas won't be taking the options on those 8 aircraft ordered. These Malaysian aircraft would be great to have 3 more aircraft to operate all the Longhaul routes. They could put to pasture the last 3 747 that have the old product on them. Why is it that Malaysian don't just codeshare on QF metal and reduce their services to help with the losses. Seems that Qantas put many passengers onto other metal, why can't Malaysian do the same. Customers booking Malaysian would be happier on QF aircraft and flight numbers. 

1 on 1/5/15 by hutch

My understanding is that the remaining 8 QF A380's are not options but orders. QF has delayed receiving them. They can cancel an order, but it won't be free.

2 on 1/5/15 by Mike66

Correct but you can cancel a order or maybe transfer the order to a new A350😀😀 I think also maybe Airbus might owe Qantas after what happened and the grounding of the fleet. My opinion only 

1 on 1/5/15 by hutch

I agree that I see the potential of swapping to A350's... but I dont think that necessarily improves the case to pick up these 6 A380's. 

11 on 30/4/15 by KK

Turkish Airlines?

1 on 30/4/15 by Rishi

Could be a possibility although I think airlines like BA and EK wouldn't spare a thought on buying them.

12 on 30/4/15 by Rishi


13 on 1/5/15 by Martin

If EK does decide to purchase the MAS A380, do you think they might upgrade DXB-BKK-SYD-CHC service to an A380 and the same with DXB-KUL & SIN - MEL serivce?If BA does purchase them, they should upgrade BA15/16 service to the A380 and start a new serivce LHR - SIN - MEL. 

1 on 1/5/15 by hutch

If BA did buy them, why would they fly them to SYD? 777 is a good sized plane for that route and has good cargo cap. Using the A380 would tie up the eqv of around 2.5 planes on an ultra long haul tag when they could get better use of them on single stop premium routes across the Atlantic to the USA. Melbourne? There is a reason why BA is the remaining European airline flying to Australia, shortage of A380s is not one of them.

1 on 1/5/15 by Rishi

Yeah I personally wish they come to Melbourne but there are cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico, Shanghai which generate more point to point traffic.

14 on 1/5/15 by Performa

Thank goodness all you folk don't make decissions, and they are just opinions!!!!

1 on 1/5/15 by asw

Will be hard to trade A380s to existing operators without MH providing incentives. 

The big operators all want Airbus to run an A380neo program. 

2 on 1/5/15 by TheRealBabushka

I wonder if the political classes in Kuala Lumpur would "strongly advise" Herr Mueller to "reconsider" the decision to sell/lease a couple of A380s and ensure the KUL/LHR flagship service remains in place. The sense of entitlement of the Kuala Lumpur elite is palpable. Of course the language will be couched in populist terms as saving national pride and ego.

1 on 1/5/15 by Rishi

If Qantas did that we would all be up in arms, dunno what Malaysia is up to.

15 on 1/5/15 by airplane_bruh

what about a380 syd-hkg move the 747 to syd-sin and use a a330 for syd-kix

16 on 1/5/15 by keroseneboy

Christoph "The Terminator" strikes again...

17 on 1/5/15 by Zac

Hi David,

Just to confirm - are MAS talking about a sale and leaseback, i.e. sell the aircraft to get a cash injection but still operate A380s, or are they saying they will no longer fly A380s?

Cheers, Zac

1 on 3/5/15 by GuyBetsy

I agree with you, Zac. I think MH will need the A380 to cover at least one LHR flight and one CDG. So a sale and leaseback would sound logical rather than give up entirely. No one would want to fly on the 777-200ERs to London cos they're so old.

18 on 3/5/15 by Dubya

How this shambles of an airline holds a coveted Skytrax 5 Star rating is beyond me. No... I am not talking about MH370 or MH17. MH was poor before these tragedies. EK, EY, CX, SQ, QF any day before MH.


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