Malaysia Airlines has listed all six of its Airbus A380 jets for sale via a LinkedIn advertisement, as part of a much-anticipated organisational restructure.
The airline’s parent company, Malaysian Airlines Group (MAG) listed the jets for sale, with interested buyers urged to send proposals by Thursday, 12 August.
“Open tender notice: MAB Pesawat Sdn Bhd (MABP) is conducting an open tender for the sale of six (6) AIRBUS 380-800 aircraft and/or its components,” the listing said.
The sale announcement is not unexpected, following comments made by the airline’s chief executive officer Izham Ismail earlier this year that the airline intended to sell off its four-engine aircraft.
“At the moment, the management is convinced that the 380 doesn’t fit the future plan,” he said. “We are cognisant of the challenges to sell this airplane, but we are still looking at ways and means to dispose of our 380 fleet.”
MAG is re-positioning its strategy beyond existing solely as an airline business, expanding as a global travel group, Ismail told a press briefing.
The move will free up capacity for the airline to receive 15 of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and 10 MAX 10 orders from 2024 over the course of four years.
Through its debt restructuring, MAG was reported to have saved US$3.57 billion in liabilities and US$1 billion in cost-saving cuts.
The airline has six of the A380s in its fleet currently waiting in storage. MAG also operates A350-900s, A330-300s, A330-200s, and competitor Boeing’s 737-800s.
According to data from Collateral Verifications LCC, the entire fleet of A380 jets would be worth a current market value of US$273.34 million.
The wide-body double-decker jet is slowly phasing out as part of numerous airlines’ plans, in light of the improved range and superior efficiency of newer twin-engine jets, along with the affect of the global pandemic on long-haul air travel.
London-Heathrow was previously Malaysia Airlines’ only long-haul route, but now as international travel demand remains heavily subdued, its role has become largely obsolete.
“I think if all A380 operators could start over with a blank sheet of paper, none of them would have the A380 in their post-pandemic fleet,” independent aviation analyst Brendan Sobie said.
Large airlines such as Qatar, Etihad, and Lufthansa have expressed the potential of selling the A380s part of their fleet, but have not made any formal decisions.
The jet only halted production after 12 years from 2021 because its market was getting increasingly smaller.
“In the end, you have to face facts, and we could see that we were building A380s faster than people were ordering them,” said Airbus head of business analysis and market forecast Bob Lange.