back to all news

Malaysia Airlines to axe Airbus A380s by 2018

By David Flynn     Filed under: Airbus A350, Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines will ditch all of its Airbus A380s by 2018, just six years after the beleaguered carrier took delivery of its first superjumbo.

The A380s will remain in the fleet primarily for the airlines' twice-daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and London until the four double-deckers assigned to that route can all be replaced with the fuel-efficient Airbus A350, outgoing Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller told Aviation Daily.

Mueller added that an A350 is also likely to start flying to Auckland or Tokyo.

PREVIOUS | Malaysia Airlines will fly its new Airbus A350 on routes to London and across Asia following their delivery from October 2017.

Four of the advanced fuel-efficient jets will carry MAS stripe by the middle of 2018, and CEO Christoph Mueller has already flagged an interest in adding more "in order to reach a critical fleet size, allowing standby aircraft for any scheduled maintenance and enabling future network expansion."

The seating and layout for Malaysia Airlines' A350s has already been finalised and is expected to top out at business class – possibly using the same design as the airline's new A330 lie-flat business class seat (below) – and perhaps also include the extra-legroom 'economy plus' zone earmarked for the Airbus A380s.

Read: Up close with Malaysia Airlines' new business class

"The aircraft will deliver great performance and is able to operate non-stop from Kuala Lumpur to London and throughout Asia" Malaysia Airlines has said.

The Malaysian flag-carrier will continue flying its six Airbus A380 flagships but has retired all of its ageing Boeing 777-200 jets on the back of a recent alliance with Emirates, which the airline says "will contribute to Malaysia Airlines’ fleet consolidation."

More Airbus A350 stories on Australian Business Traveller

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


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 9/3/16 by StudiodeKadent

"expected to top out at business class..."

So it hasn't been confirmed to top out at business class?

London is a premium destination and currently the only destination MAS flies first class to (the alliance with Emirates will give them the ability to add more first class destinations in Europe but at the cost of making those routes have a stop). And whilst they're looking at extra-legroom-economy, I don't think they're looking at Premium Economy (given their Business Class isn't a "super business class" either, a true PE product doesn't really make much sense).

So I wouldn't be surprised if MAS puts a small First Class cabin (say, 4 people like Air France's new La Premiere 777s) on their a350s... at least the ones working the London route. They wouldn't want to hand over all of their First Class passengers to Emirates.

1 on 10/3/16 by jubbing

It's true.. I wonder if 4 seats of First Class wouldn't be worth a gamble for MAS - especially on their best routes? Though their current first class seat is probably not industry leading range any longer. 

2 on 11/3/16 by David

"So it hasn't been confirmed to top out at business class?" No, that's why we wrote 'expected'. And I'd agree, if MAS feels the market can bear it then a small four-berth first class cabin could be just the ticket.

2 on 3/6/16 by Serg

I am curious what they will do with those A380? Is there second-hand market for them?

Also it appears that A380 only became “economical” when fully laden and tightly packed and obviously Malaysia Airlines struggle to fill them up.

1 on 3/6/16 by F-Flyer

I know that Turkish Airlines were interested. Not sure about that now. Logical for maybe SQ, EK, QR, EY or NH (ANA) to purchase these A380's as they all have A380's on order. A possible long shot for Qantas as they need to order more than just 8 787-9's to replace the ageing 747-400's. Order more AJ!

1 on 3/6/16 by Himeno

Are you suggesting that QF should take the 380s that MH doesn't want any more?

That isn't going to happen. QF has 8 more A380s on order that they will likely never get, and have gotten 2nd hand aircraft (747s) from MH before. Those aircraft had... issues.

1 on 3/6/16 by F-Flyer

I am suggesting that they could take these A380's instead of their brand new ordered A380's as they will be cheaper and will be in the fleet in not time. Then the 747's can go even quicker than anticipated. I know it won't happen though. It's only classic aircraft speculation!

2 on 3/6/16 by jubbing

Funny since they never had.. issues, before the switch.

2 on 3/6/16 by Himeno

MH has already had 2 A380s on the market for a while. The first of EK's A380s are also likely to be on the second hand market soon.

ANA had the option of taking 2 near complete, unused aircraft meant for Skymark. They opted for new build instead (thus getting their order in years rather then months)

There does not appear to be a market for 2nd hand A380s.

If there was an A380F and the aircraft could be converted, it might be a different story.

1 on 3/6/16 by Serg

“There does not appear to be a market for 2nd hand A380s.”

This is what seems to me.

“If there was an A380F and the aircraft could be converted, it might be a different story.”

There is “F” variant, though AFAIK only on paper – none was delivered. For some freaking reason freighters prefer B747-8 – almost twice more freight variants was delivered comparing to passenger ones.

1 on 3/6/16 by Himeno

Yes, I know. There was a planned 380F and there were a number of orders. Then the issues Airbus was having with the program delayed it to the point where Airbus removed the type and the orders were cancelled.

The A380 project at the moment appears to be "do what EK wants, where fesable"

1 on 3/6/16 by Serg

It is a worry, is not it? What happens to A380 if something happens to EK? They have almost half of A380!

1 on 3/6/16 by jubbing

What does this article have ANYTHING to do with Emirates?

1 on 4/6/16 by Serg

"What does this article have ANYTHING to do with Emirates?"

Emirates running almost half of them. Now lets speculate that Emirates became buncrupt.

2 on 3/6/16 by F-Flyer

Airbus did announce a while ago that they scrapped the A380-F variant.

3 on 4/6/16 by travs

Doesn't the 747 nose open? Pretty sure A380 can't match that.

3 on 5/6/16 by eminere

Sad news for MH but not altogether unexpected. I guess this also spells the end for first class on MH, considering neither of its long-haul aircraft will have a first class cabin.

4 on 6/6/16 by Rishi

I'd be willing to take the tab for MH's A380s for few bucks since no one wants to buy them.


Related News Items


Australian business traveller newsletter

Get Updates as they happen, tailored to your preferences, right in your inbox


What topics interest you?