Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 superjumbos put up for sale on LinkedIn

Fancy buying half a dozen of the world's largest passenger aircraft? Now's your chance.

Malaysia Aviation Group, the parent company of Malaysia Airlines, has launched a tender for the sale of six Airbus A380-800 aircraft, or their components.

The airline announced the tender on Malaysia Airlines' LinkedIn page, inviting interested parties to contact the company via email by Thursday, August 12.

Malaysia Airlines' first A380 took off in 2012. Group chief executive Captain Izham Ismail said in May the airline would look to dispose of its A380 fleet.

"We are cognisant of the challenges to sell this aeroplane, but we are still looking at ways and means to dispose of our 380 fleet. At the moment, the management is convinced that the 380 doesn't fit the future plan," he told Reuters.

Like many others, Malaysia Airlines has been hit hard by the downturn in air travel caused by COVID-19. Last year it announced a plan to restructure 16 billion ringgit ($A5.2 billion) in debt. The process was completed in May.

The airline's six A380s are currently parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The list price for an A380 is more than $400 million, but airlines rarely pay the list price in their deals with aircraft manufacturers. Some experts estimate A380s are now worth less than $100 million each.

Malaysia Airlines is just one of several carriers looking to retire or sell its A380s. Qatar Airways has said at least half its fleet of 10 grounded superjumbos will never fly again, while Thai Airways, Air France and Lufthansa have all retired their A380 fleets.

Qantas' 12 superjumbos are currently being stored in California's Mojave Desert, where the airline's chief executive Alan Joyce has said they are likely to remain until 2023, when he estimates international travel will recover enough for them to re-enter service.

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The Airbus A380 has fallen out of favour with airlines in recent years as smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus' own A350 came on to the market.

The A380 launched to massive fanfare in 2007 with Singapore Airlines its first customer; the first commercial flight was from Singapore to Sydney on October 25 that year.

The superjumbo, as it was dubbed, was a revelation in air travel - capable of carrying more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class layout, with certification for up to 853 passengers in an all-economy layout (something that some airlines raised the prospect of, but never implemented).

Airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad used the size of the superjumbo to create never-before-seen luxuries for passengers in the pointy end. Singapore Airlines introduced private suites for its first-class passengers, including seats that converted into double beds. Emirates provided a shower in its first-class bathroom, while Etihad created "The Residence" - a three-room suite at the front of first class, featuring a lounge, bedroom and private bathroom, complete with personal butler service.

Despite these impressive features and great popularity with passengers, sales slumped as early as 2013, with Airbus failing to receive a single firm order for the plane that year.

Only six years later Airbus announced it would halt production of the superjumbo.

In 2019, the first A380 ever built moved to an aircraft storage facility in France. It has since been dismantled for parts and scrap.

The last A380 ever built took off from Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France in March this year for delivery to Emirates, the largest customer for the aircraft.

See also: The last A380 superjumbo takes off on first flight

See also: Rattlesnakes infest Qantas' grounded A380s in California desert

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