Malaysia Airlines Bhd. (MAS) is negotiating with carriers in China and other countries in the region to offload its six Airbus A380s because the aircraft no longer fit in the future fleet of the airline, MAS CEO Peter Bellew was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
The report said the Malaysian carrier is likely to become the first A380 customer to cease operating the jumbo, which first entered service with Singapore Airlines in 2007.
The Bloomberg report said that MAS no longer wants the A380 as it focuses more on regional Asian services and prepares to take delivery of six smaller Airbus A350s, which will replace the giant aircraft on routes such as Kuala Lumpur-London.
If direct buyers aren't found it's prepared to offer the jets for lease with access to its 380 simulator, or complete with pilots and cabin crew under a wet-lease agreement, Bellew said.
In a related development, A380 launch customer Singapore Airlines this week said it would not renew the lease for its first A380, which expires in October 2017.
Simultaneously, Qantas announced withdrawing from an order of 8 A380s and Virgin Atlantic intends cancelling a purchase agreement for 6 of the big aircraft.
In summary, it can be said that 16 years after the program was launched, the A380 has developed into a shelf-warmer. Up to now, Airbus only got 319 firm order for its double-decker jet, too little to make it a commercial success.
And, original plans of the European aircraft producer to build an A380 freighter can be regarded as being long dead and buried.
Nol van Fenema / Heiner Siegmund