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 Traveller, Malaysia 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.