Malaysia Airlines fleet restructuring

April 30, 2015: Malaysia Airlines is offering for sale or lease all six of its Airbus A380s, its two Boeing 747-400Fs and four Airbus A330-200Fs and four Boeing 777-200ERs as it seeks to restructure following a disastrous 2014.

MAS lost two 777s last year: MH370, the flight that disappeared and still hasn’t been found; and MH17, the flight that was shot down over Ukraine.

Elimination of the freighters wipes out MASCargo.

MAS, the passenger operation, has six A380s, 15 A330-300s, 57 Boeing 737-800s with 14 on order and 10 options and 13 777-200ERs, according to Wikipedia.

Aircraft Type Engine MSN DOM Available From For sale / Lease
A380 RR Trent 970 78 2012 Immediate sale or Lease
81 2012 Immediate sale or Lease
84 2012 2016 sale or Lease
89 2012 2016 sale or Lease
94 2013 2016 sale or Lease
114 2013 2016 sale or Lease
B777-200ER TRENT892B 29065 2001 Immediate Sale
29066 2001 Immediate Sale
28421 2004 Immediate Sale
28422 2004 Immediate Sale
B747-400F PW4056 28434 2006 Immediate Lease
29902 2006 Immediate Lease
A330-200F PW4170 1136 2011 Immediate sale or Lease
1148 2011 Immediate sale or Lease
1164 2012 Immediate sale or Lease
1180 2012 Immediate sale or Lease

The disposal of all six A380s presents an opportunity to test the market for used A380s and whether a key component to Airbus’ strategy for the super jumbo going forward will work: allow airlines to try out the airplane without having to spent the huge amount of money required to buy new. After experiencing the A380, the theory goes, other carriers will understand how this can spur sales.

This theory was created in anticipation of A380s coming off lease from Singapore Airlines and later Emirates Airlines for airplanes that are 12 years or older. The MAS A380s are considerably younger.

Disposal of the A330-200Fs won’t help Airbus sell new ones. The price has raised questions over the ROI of new-build, main-deck freighters (an issue with Boeing and its 747-8F and 777F as well). The relatively young 747-400Fs also will put pressure on Boeing’s ability of sell 747-8Fs to keep this line alive.

70 Comments on “Malaysia Airlines fleet restructuring

    • TK being interested in those A380s has been reported before; they responded to that rumour by saying they won’t operate A380s in 2015. Which leaves the door wide open for operating them in 2016, when most of MH’s A380 fleet is going to become available anyway.

  1. No more future European flights?I never understood their decision to buy a couple of A380! They are much too big for their kind of operation. Maybe it was just to keep up with neigbouring Singapore? Difficult times ahead for MAS.

  2. Such a pity the A380 hasn’t worked at MH. Those two losses haven’t helped, and what was a huge gamble to buy them in the first place. Just had an acquaintance fly LHR-AKL on MH for £495! Apparently a380 was empty

    • I think that has a lot to do with the bad press MH got thanks to the two lost 777s. None of it really their fault, but bad press is bad press – even people in my family said they wouldn’t fly MH now, despite knowing it wasn’t the airline’s fault.

      Just had an acquaintance fly LHR-AKL on MH for £495! Apparently a380 was empty

      We flew LHR-KUL late in 2013, i.e. before MH370. The A380 was pretty much booked out on the outward and return legs.*
      So you can see how the A380 actually made sense for MH at the time – but with the massive loss in pax numbers they’ve seen, it no longer does.

      * On one of the two flights, we actually had MSN114, the 100th A380 built.

      • MH was having difficulty prior to loosing those two jets. Those two pushed them over the edge. They needed to be rethinking their long-term strategy, they needed to be consolidating their position as Cathay Pacific has successfully demonstrated.

        See here & here. Both of these articles were written before MH370 and MH17.

  3. Hello Scott
    Well !
    Where can we apply for buying these birds (A380) ? 😀
    As you say it will be real test for the second market of the A380 (quite brand new A380 indeed)

  4. I anticipate that MAS is going to have a very difficult time unloding the A380s at a reasonable price. We will soon have better knoweledge of the A380 secondary market.

    • any idea how much malaysia will want for them? and what price do you think they will actually sell for?


  5. The MH380’s join the new ones from Skymark already on the lot. Will be interesting to see how long it takes to move these birds and at what price. who bites.

    Presumably best scenario for Airbus would be a new A380 customer who tries before they buy. Middle scenario is an existing user snaps these up rather than buying new and worst is they simply sit there depressing the market for new builds.

    • The MH380’s join the new ones from Skymark already on the lot.

      Not quite. It didn’t say anywhere MH were going to park them right away, and four of their six A380s are not going to be available until next year.
      In that context, I’d also expect the MH ones to be taken up before the Skymark ones, probably on lease. They’re fitted out and basically available straight away, e.g. in a “try before you buy” scenario, as you suggested yourself.
      Also, I think there is still some legal uncertainty about the Skymark frames until all claims both ways are settled, so those two mightn’t actually be available just yet.

      • The big issue with fitted out aircraft is that the operator has their own needs and often “style”. Ergo, a fitted out aircraft has to be unfitted and then re-fitted (Skymark only needs to be fitted I think but depends on how far Airbus ran the completion before pulling the plug)

        Malaysia had issues well before the two disasters and it was hotly debated on the rational for the A380s.

        A380 sky is not falling but it does put more of a drag on the program.

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  9. Delta seems to have its direction set, I don’t see them taking up A380s

    Its not the price its how they fit into their plans.

    Right price and fit into the plan yes they are noted for that

    I don’t know enough about Delta routes and loads to know if the could make any fit let alone all of them.

    It would also play havoc with the plan itself and they allocate certain amounts of purchases based on their plan not winging it.

  10. As in regards to the RR fuel burn spin from the ever spinning Tim Clark, here is a quote from Airinsight on regards to the fuel burn differences.

    “It is fascinating that the Airbus Orange Book (Airbus’ official fuel-burn specification) reports the Engine Alliance offering 1.3% better fuel burn than the Rolls-Royce Trent 900. Therefore if the rumors that the Rolls-Royce engines being offered to Emirates are going to be 4% better, simple math says that Rolls must have improved their existing engines by 5.3%. This is a staggering number. Could it be that perhaps Rolls is thinking of offering a Trent XWB engine which might get closer to these numbers? But there would be some certification time needed.”

    In other words baloney putting it kindly and I am surprised that Scott or Bjorn did not make comment on that. Its not information I have but obviously its there.

    • Yeah, Tim Clark was spinning that RR order so bad we could have replaced one of Hoover Dam’s generators with him.

      You like a lot of folks (me included) immediately called BS on the “RR is 4% more efficient” than the GP7200 engines. and this is what they are promising in the upcoming delivery? Not happening in my book, unless they are really playing games with the numbers all over the place.

      • Maybe it was their aggressive selling and maintenance prices that made Rolls Royce “4% more efficient” rather than fuel efficiency.

    • @TransWorld

      Why don’t you report on what Clarke actually said?

      Clark said the decision to go with the Rolls-Royce engine had been driven by the manufacturer’s willingness to improve reliability and inject technology from the Trent XWB engines developed for use on the Airbus A350.

      Clark said, however, that the Engine Alliance—a joint venture of U.S. engine companies General Electric and Pratt & Whitney—had been “disingenuous” about their willingness to advance the GP7000 engine.

      “I don’t think the commitment was there in the other competitor [Engine Alliance] to develop an improved engine, it’s a good engine, but the Rolls-Royce was arguably a better one,” Clark told reporters.

      So, RR will improve reliability of the Trent 900 and inject technology from the Trent XWB, which would seem to indicate that Emirates will be getting an up-graded engine.

      As for GE, they’re reaping the harvest of their decision of having de facto chosen to be a Boeing-only, wide-body engine supplier. Nobody forced them to it, it’s all self-inflicted. GE’s decision not to offer an engine for the A350-1000 back in 2006, could very likely go down as one of the biggest business blunders in aviation history and has, unfortunately, led to what seems to be a growing trans-atlantic engine split on wide-bodies.

  11. Before the MH370 & MH17 disasters, the convoluted management at MAS already had dropped important destinations & surrendered market shares at EZE/CPT/JNB/EWR/ARN/LAX/FCO/(DXB). MAS had not kept up with industry standards of full flat bed seats in business class, nor had upgraded its inflight entertainment systems. MAS forever kept operating its main line bread & butter B777-200s with old, worn out seats and small video screens. Insider corruption allowed politically & industry connected freeloaders to occupy first & business class seats. Time will tell if Mueller, the new outsider, will be allowed to clear the rot of corrupt, incompetent managers and charge full fare for government employees, their families & friends.

  12. I predict that MH will be the first of many airlines to let go of their A380’s. The future of air travel is in wide-body/high capacity and fuel efficient twin engine aircraft such as 777X, A330neo, 787 and A350. The orders for new A380’s have all but dried up, leading Airbus to consider ceasing production of the aircraft. I think that in another year or two there will be a glut of ‘lightly used, almost new’ A380’s available for lease or sale. It’s simply too much aircraft for most airlines and the novelty is now wearing off.

    • I think the truth is someplace in between.

      I think MA is the only one that is going to dump theirs and the sanity of the move to them for MA was questioned from the start.

      Others have deferred, BA seems to be happy with their though I don’t hear any rumbles of more.

      Will see, no rumors of others in the same situation but as always stay tuned.

      8 on the market now and two have not sold.

    • The present and near future is in twin engine widebodies, but beyond that I’m not so sure. The A380 is a great plane, but it’s an idea whose time has not yet come. All the arguments Airbus makes about growth in Asia and slot-constrained airports will eventually come to pass, they’re just not happening fast enough for this plane.

      Ten, maybe twenty years from now the A380 would be selling like hotcakes, but for now it only makes sense for a few big airlines on a few specific routes. Anything that requires frequency over capacity does better with a smaller plane.

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  15. Flying frequently to Australasia with MAS on the LHR-KUL-BNE route on 380’s & 330’s I have experienced some of the best cabin crew & aircraft flying experiences. Sadly KUL airport is a tad third world but MAS 1st lounge compensates.

    As I approach twenty business 380 return flights on the 380 on Australasian routes many with MAS I am hard pressed to find an airline to match the quality of MAS

    Avoiding the middle east carriers & their dreadful home hubs like the plague, I fortunately still have several other carriers offering the superior 380 option.

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  25. UAL should try two A380. Also the 777-200 for the right price. They want some used air craft, now it there chance to get going.

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  34. Have travelled with Malaysian Airlines on 380 and their cabin crews are always very polite. Flying again in November.

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    Disbarred attorney w/shyster airline certificate seeks IMMEDIATE LEASE & DELIVERY 2006 MAS 747-400F #28434 & #29902. SWISS FUNDING secured five (5) year high-residual deal. Must deliver to AZ/CA ‘Operations Hub’ w/ALL O & M Manuals, MAS records from “New”, two sets of door/ignition/trunk keys.


      • Hey Scott

        The two MAS 747-400Fs ‘compete’ with Boeing’s efforts to sell new 747-8Fs, agreed? My tongue-in-cheek late-night humor is to suggest a Boeing shill appear to lease them both (off the market = no threat to NEW 747-8F sales). Boeing’s books might reflect “To be negotiated MAS credit toward new aircraft purchase( s)”. Pickle and park the MAS 747-400Fs in AZ/CA.
        LINE-BOY REMINDER…. PLEASE DO NOT FAIL to take possession of two(2) sets of door/ignition/trunk keys! LOL

        Scott, there are no old/bold pilots…just 72-year old coots.” Someday YOU may become one of us, too!

        All the best, always,

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  40. And what about KLM? They’re retiring their 744s sometime soon, why don’t they try the A388?

    • Aren’t most of KLM’s 744’s combi’s – in other words they don’t have enough passenger traffic to actually fill a 744 let alone a 380. I don’t think KLM operates to many airports that are capacity/gate constrained, so they don’t have a strong reason to need that much capacity in a single aircraft.

      It might be interesting for Airbus to offer a 380 combi, just not sure if the airframe has been optimized for the application.

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  45. saves MAS right for treating its chennai passengers like [edited]! all late night flights and louzy prices. serving liquor to the crazy Indians didnt help either.

    Tell you what why dont you use the A380 for flights to chennai, trichy and kerala. the upper deck, take off all the first class convert a few to business and upperdeck to premium economy. the lower deck to economy at malindo prices. give 40kg to the passengers and see full flights. I hope chennai and cochin can handle A 380s, if it cant then MAS can rent the chennai airport special escalators to disembark passengers.
    also get rid of all the related party transctions and corrupt travel.

  46. BY the way suggeted prices for chennai passengers

    business class RM2000 return Plus airport taxes.
    premium economy RM1300 return plus airport taxes includes use of public business class lounge. negotiate with malaysian airports
    economy 700-1000 return Plus airport taxes.

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